India movie superstar’s son gets bail in drugs case
New Delhi, Oct 28 (EFE).- A court in Mumbai Thursday gave bail to Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son, more than three weeks after his arrest in a high-profile and headline-grabbing drugs probe.
But the 23-year-old star son, Aryan Khan, is likely to spend another night in jail as the formal order on his release is expected on Friday.
The Bombay High Court also set free from police custody two other co-accused, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha, in a brief order, saying “all applications are allowed.”
Khan was arrested on Oct 2 in India’s financial and entertainment capital of Mumbai, along with seven other people in a police raid on a luxury cruise ship.
The Narcotic Control Bureau had claimed to have found drugs on the ship that was bound for the neighboring coastal state of Goa.
The anti-drugs agency alleged that Khan was part of an illicit drug trafficking network, as evident from his WhatsApp messages.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who argued for the agency, told the court that the case against Khan was that of “conscious possession and plan to consume” drugs.
“He made an attempt to deal with commercial quantity,” the prosecution said, referring to WhatsApp chats and recovery of drugs from the eight accused.
“It cannot be a coincidence that so many people on the cruise, 8 were found with drugs and there was multiple varieties,” Bar and Bench, an online portal for Indian legal news, quoted the prosecution as saying.
“My contention is he was found in possession. He was connected with drug peddlers. It was commercial quantity,” the government lawyer said.
The defense counsel, Mukul Rohatgi, tore through the prosecution arguments, saying his client could not be held responsible for what was recovered from the other co-accused.
He dismissed the alleged drug trafficking conspiracy theory and said the WhatsApp chats that the NCB was relying upon were “from a much earlier period.”
The NCB had earlier argued that Khan was not a first-time consumer as he had been consuming drugs for the last few years.
Aryan Khan is the eldest son of the Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, 55.
Shah Rukh is one of the most famous Indian actors and is known as the “King of Bollywood.”
He has appeared in more than 105 movies in the acting career of nearly three decades.
Many in the Indian film industry have rallied behind Khan, with some alleging that it was a case of harassment and witch hunt against a Muslim actor in the country with a Hindu majority.
But others saw it as an example in India’s fight against drugs that spare not even the most powerful who could face jail if they consume or peddle narcotics.
The Khan father and son have been at the heart of daily Twitter trends in India alongside hashtag #BollywoodDruggies, accusing the multi-billion-dollar film industry of domiciliating high-profile drug addicts in the country. EFE