Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan and five others were given a clean chit by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Friday in the alleged cruise drug bust case.
“A complaint against 14 persons under various sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act is being filed. Complaint against rest six persons is not being filed due to the lack of evidence,” said the deputy director-general (DDG) of the NCB.
Asserting that its special investigation team (SIT) carried out its probe in an “objective manner”, the federal anti-drugs agency said in a statement in Delhi that “the touchstone of the principle of proof beyond reasonable doubt has been applied”.
It added that eight people were arrested by the NCB’s Mumbai zonal office on 2 October last year from the international cruise terminal and the vessel that was operated by a company called Cordelia.
The accused were Vikrant, Ishmeet, Arbaaz, Ayan, Gomit, Nupur, Mohak and Munmun.
“All the accused persons were found in possession of narcotics except Aryan (Khan) and Mohak (Jaiswal),” the NCB said.
Here’s a timeline of how the case unfolded:
2 October 2021: Aryan Khan was detained in the case by the NCB after it raided a cruise party.
3 October: Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha were arrested by the NCB. A total of 20 people were arrested in connection with the case.
3 to 28 October: Aryan Khan’s counsel argued in the court that he was not in possession of drugs.
The NCB counsel contested that WhatsApp chats between Aryan and Arbaaz revealed the drugs being carried by the latter were for the consumption of both of them.
28 October: After days of hearing, the Bombay high court granted bail to Aryan, Arbaz and Munmun on certain conditions.
The case was until now being investigated by the NCB, Mumbai zone. Sameer Wannkhede was the zonal head.
November 2021: The case was taken over by a special investigation team supervised by Sanjay Kumar Singh, deputy director-general of the NCB headquarters in Delhi.
December 2021: The term of Sameer Wankhede, who came at loggerheads with Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik owing to his ‘targeted’ drugs drive against Bollywood, ended.
Aryan Khan was given relief from his weekly presence before the NCB Mumbai office as the case was with SIT Delhi.
March 2022: The SIT sought some more time to file the chargesheet in the case. The special court had granted the probe agency a 60-day extension.
April 2022: A key witness of the case, Prabhakar Sail, died of a heart attack. It was he who had claimed that there was a monetary deal inside NCB to arrest Shah Rukh Khan’s son.
Sail had claimed to be the bodyguard of NCB witness KP Gosavi and alleged that Gosavi discussed a ₹25 crore pay-off deal after Aryan Khan was arrested.
May 2022: The chargesheet was filed by the NCB in which Aryan Khan was given a clean chit.