NEW DELHI: Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s son, Aryan Khan, and two others were arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau on Sunday after the agency raided a rave party and seized drugs from a luxury cruise ship off the Mumbai coast.
Officials from the NCB had reportedly boarded the ship dressed as passengers on Saturday night before conducting the raid based on “specific intelligence inputs” and investigations spanning two weeks. The ship was bound for Goa.
In a statement on Sunday, the NCB said it had detained Aryan and seven others for questioning after recovering banned drugs such as MDMA, ecstasy, cocaine, MD or mephedrone, and charts from the cruise ship.
“All eight, including Aryan Khan, are being questioned. After questioning, all the eight accused would be produced in the court, and it will take a decision,” said.
According to media reports, Aryan and two others had been taken for medical tests to the JJ Hospital on Sunday and was be produced in court later on Sunday, where the NCB planned to seek their remand for further questioning.
Aryan, 23, completed his schooling in Britain before graduating from the University of Southern California. He is the eldest son of Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan.
The couple also have a daughter, Suhana Khan, and another son, AbRam
Shah Rukh, 55, who is one of the world’s most famous actors, starring in more than 107 Hindi films. In 2017, Forbes said his earnings amounted to an estimated $38 million from endorsements and movies, placing him on the 65th spot in its list of top 100 celebrities.
The actor enjoys an incredible social media presence with 42 million followers on Twitter, owns the Kolkata Knight Riders cricket team, which plays for the Indian Premier League and runs a successful production house named the Red Chillies Entertainment.
Bollywood actor Sunil Shetty came to Aryan's defence on Sunday, urging the public “to give the child a breather.”
“When a raid is conducted at a place, many people are taken into custody. We assume that a particular boy must have consumed it (the drugs). The process is on. Let's give that child a breather. Let real reports come out,” he said during a TV debate.
The opposition Congress party also questioned the NCB’s rationale of detaining the “small fish” while accusing the government of ignoring a larger haul of drugs elsewhere.
“NCB gets very busy arresting small fish on a cruise ship, but when it comes to the biggest fish of them all — the 3000kg heroin smuggled from Adani’s Mundra port, NCB is completely mum,” Congress party’s spokesperson Dr. Shama Mohamed said in a Twitter post on Sunday.
On Sept. 21, 3,000kg of heroin was seized at the Mundra airport in the western state of Gujarat. The government has yet to launch a probe into the drug haul, estimated to be worth $3.1 million.
Authorities, however, said they would be “acting in an impartial manner,” despite the presence of “some Bollywood links” in the case.
“In the process, if some connections to Bollywood or rich people emerge, so be it. We have to act within the purview of the law,” NCB Chief S. N. Pradhan told reporters on Sunday.
He added that the NCB had conducted more than 300 “such raids in the last one year” in Mumbai alone.
“We have to keep on working in Mumbai. If you look at the data, there must have been more than 300 raids in the last one year. This will continue whether foreign nationals are involved, film industry or rich people are involved,” he said.
In September last year, some of Bollywood’s most prominent actors, including Deepika Padukone, were questioned by the NCB in a wide-ranging drug probe in connection with the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, a famous actor, who was found dead at his residence in June.