Mumbai/ New Delhi:
Aryan Khan today denied any deal with anti-drugs agency officers or any connection with the allegations of a payoff involving Sameer Wankhede, the officer leading the investigations against him and others in the drugs-on-cruise case.
“I have nothing to do with the allegations and counter allegations that are currently on public/social media between Sameer Wankhede and certain political personalities, also have no connection or concern with Prabhakar Sail or (KP) Gosavi,” said Aryan Khan, the 23-year-old son of megastar Shah Rukh Khan, in an affidavit to the Bombay High Court before a hearing on his request for bail.
Aryan Khan’s affidavit followed the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)’s statement to the High Court alleging that his father Shah Rukh Khan’s manager “appeared to have influenced” an independent witness who has alleged payoffs.
Hours before he distanced himself from “certain political personalities”, Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik had escalated his attack on NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede and accused the agency of selective targeting. Maharashtra’s ruling parties Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have been alleging a grand political design behind the drugs investigation.
In a written reply to the High Court yesterday, the NCB alleged an “attempt to tamper with the investigation and derail it”.
The anti-drugs agency said it needed more time to follow what it called the “international drug connection of Aryan Khan” revealed in the investigation. “The same is being investigated and as per stipulated guidelines, sufficient time is required to properly unearth this international drug connection,” said the NCB.
“Further, considering the influential position Aryan Khan holds in the society, he may tamper with the evidence and influence other witnesses whom he personally knows is very much possible,” the agency told the High Court.
The NCB referred to Prabhakar Sail, a witness who has alleged in an affidavit that Kiran Gosavi, the private investigator whose selfie with Aryan Khan went viral and threw up questions, had planned to demand ₹ 25 crore from Shah Rukh Khan’s manager Pooja Dadlani to settle the case. Of this, he has alleged, Rs 8 crore was meant for Sameer Wankhede.
In response, Aryan Khan said he had nothing to do with the allegations flying around and pleaded that his request for bail “be decided on merits uninfluenced by the aforesaid assertions of parties and counter parties”.
Mukul Rohatgi, former Attorney General of India, will represent Aryan Khan in court.
Aryan Khan, his friend Arbaaz Merchant and model Munmun Dhamecha, and five others were arrested after officers of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) raided a party on a cruise ship off Mumbai on October 2. Since then, the number of arrests has gone up to 20.
Last week, the NCB questioned rising star Ananya Pandey after her name showed up in Aryan Khan’s WhatsApp chats, allegedly on drugs.