Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, in his plea in the Bombay High Court seeking bail, has said the NCB was “misinterpreting" his WhatsApp chats to implicate him in the case of seizure of banned drugs aboard a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast earlier this month.
Aryan Khan, currently in jail, on Wednesday moved the HC after a special court rejected his application for bail. The HC will hear his bail plea on October 26. In his appeal in the HC against the special court order, Aryan Khan said the Narcotics Control Bureau’s “interpretation and misinterpretation" of the WhatsApp chats collected from his mobile phone was “wrong and unjustified", news agency PTI said in a report.
The 23-year-old claimed no contraband was recovered from him after the NCB raided the ship and maintained he has no connection with any of the other accused in the case except Arbaaz Merchant and Aachit Kumar. So far, the anti-drugs agency has arrested as many as 20 people in connection with the case.
The appeal further said the WhatsApp chats that are being relied upon by the NCB are “ex-facie (on the face of it) of a period prior to the incident". “By no stretch of imagination can those purported messages be linked to any conspiracy for which the secret information was received," it said, according to PTI.
“The interpretation of the WhatsApp messages is that of the investigating officer and such interpretation is unjustified and wrong," the appeal said. Aryan Khan also questioned the special court’s contention, while refusing him bail, that since he is an influential person he may tamper with evidence in the case if released from custody.
“There is no presumption in law that merely because a person is influential, there is likelihood of him tampering with the evidence," the appeal said, according to the report. Aryan Khan was arrested on October 3 by the NCB along with his friend Arbaaz Merchant (26) and fashion model Munmun Dhamecha (28).
The trio is presently in judicial custody. While Aryan Khan and Merchant are lodged at the Arthur Road prison in central Mumbai, Dhamecha is at the Byculla women’s prison. A special court, designated to hear cases related to the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), refused to grant them bail noting that “they were part of the conspiracy".
The lower court had said Aryan Khan had a “nexus with drug peddlers and suppliers and had indulged in illicit drug activities on a regular basis".
Ananya Panday ‘Cooperating in Case’
Meanwhile, Bollywood actor Ananya Panday appeared before the NCB here for the second straight day on Friday and was questioned for nearly four hours in connection with her alleged WhatsApp chats with Aryan Khan.
Ananya Panday has been again called by the NCB on Monday, a senior official of the central agency said. Her actor-father Chunky Panday accompanied her to the NCB office. The 22-year-old actor, a new entrant in Bollywood who made her debut in 2019, left the NCB office around 6.20 pm after questioning by the NCB, they said, without providing further details. NCB Deputy Director General Ashok Mutha Jain told media persons that Ananya Panday has been called again on Monday to take the ongoing process further.
Sources told CNN-News18 that Ananya was ‘cooperating’ in the case. “Ananya Panday is cooperating with the NCB. She is answering all the questions posed to her," NCB sources said. The NCB is probing whether Ananya Pandey arranged drugs for Aryan, sources in the NCB had earlier told CNN-News18. Ananya’s name had cropped up in the case after certain WhatsApp chats between her and Aryan Khan were allegedly found in the latter’s mobile phone, the sources said.
With inputs from PTI.