Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh’s son, Aryan Khan, has been given a clean chit by the anti-drugs agency’s special team in the drugs-on-cruise case. He was arrested last year amid a probe by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), along with his friend Arbaaz Merchant and model Munmun Dhamecha. He had walked out of the jail on October 30, about four weeks later. The arrests were made after a raid on the Cordelia cruise off the Mumbai coast.
Here are ten points on the drugs-on-cruise case linked to Aryan Khan:
1. “SIT carried out its investigation in objective manner. The touchstone of the principle of proof beyond reasonable doubt has been applied. Based on the investigation carried out by SIT, a complaint (charge sheet) has been filed against 14 persons under various sections of NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act. Complaint against rest six persons is not being filed due to lack of sufficient evidence,” the NCB said in a statement.
2. Aryan Khan is among six people who have not been chargesheeted. Avin Shahu, Gopal Ji Anand, Samir Saighan. Bhaskar Aroda and Manav Singhal are also in the ‘not chargesheeted’ list. Among those who have been chargesheeted are: Arbaaz Merchant. Munmun Dhamecha, Vikrant Chhokar. Mohak Jaiswal, Ishmeet Singh Chadha, Gomit Chopra, Nupur Satija, Abdul Kadar Shaikh, Shreyas Nair, Manish Rajgariya, Aachit Kumar, Chinedu Igwe, Shivraj Harijan. and Okoro Uzeoma.
3. Earlier in March, HT had reported that the NCB’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) had said that no evidence was found against Shah Rukh Khan’s son in the case. People familiar with the matter had said that no links were found that he was “part of a larger drugs conspiracy or an international drugs trafficking syndicate”.
4. The NCB probe – which was initially led by Sameer Wankhede – was shifted from Mumbai to Delhi as a political row erupted over the case following allegations from Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik.
5. The anti-drugs agency – which is supposed to file the charge sheet in 120 days – had sought 90 more days in March to file the charge sheet in the case ahead of the April 2 deadline.
6. Soon after the news broke on Friday, reactions flooded social media. “One tight slap on fraud PR created Singham, the news media channels who work in the service of BJP, the BJP actress- spokesperson, those who tried to demonise Maharashtra through misusing central agencies. Truth prevails. Now waiting for CBI to submit its closure report on SSR. (sic),” Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote.
7. Shah Rukh Khan’s son along with his friend Arbaz Merchant and model Munmun Dhamecha were granted bail on October 28 in the case. The court – at that time – had said that “perusal of the WhatsApp chats extracted from the phone of Aryan Khan shows that nothing objectionable was noticed to suggest that he, Arbaaz and Munmun along with other accused in the case have hatched a conspiracy to commit the offence in question”.
8. “There is hardly any positive evidence on record to convince this court that all the accused persons with common intention agreed to commit unlawful acts,” the court had said while rejecting the Narcotics Control Bureau’s (NCB) argument.
9. At the time of the raids, Wankhede said that 13 grams of cocaine, 5 grams of mephedrone, 21 grams of charas, 22 pills of MDMA (ecstasy), and ₹1.33 lakh in cash were recovered from the ship.
10. In all 20 persons were arrested at time of raids. The controversy in the case, however, deepened with links to extortion claims by some witnesses.