NEW DELHI: India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Friday dropped its charges against Aryan Khan in a drugs case for which the son of movie star Shah Rukh Khan spent a month in prison.

The decision to free 24-year-old Aryan Khan and five others came amid allegations of using dubious witnesses and rogue officials accused of securing a hefty bribe from the movie star. Another view is that the case was part of the ongoing harassment of secular movie makers, both Hindu and Muslim, who have resisted the assault of Hindutva on Indian cinema.

In a statement, the NCB said: “SIT (Special Investigation Team) carried out its investigation in an 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 against 14 persons under various sections of NDPS Act is being filed. Complaint against rest six persons is not being filed due to lack of sufficient evidence.”

It added: “Based on an input, NCB Mumbai on October 2 last year intercepted Vikrant, Ishmeet, Arbaaz, Aryan and Gomit at the International Port Terminal, Mumbai Port Trust, and Nupur, Mohak and Munmun on the Cordelia Cruise. All the accused persons were found in possession of narcotics except Aryan and Mohak.”

The case spawned political accusations. “Truth always wins” is how former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) minister Nawab Malik’s daughter Sana Malik Shaikh received the news of the clean chit to Aryan Khan.

In the days following the arrest of Aryan, Nawab Malik had waged literally a one-man campaign against NCB Mumbai Zone in-charge Sameer Wankhede, with his reported revelations against the way the probe was handled punching holes into the case against Aryan.

Malik subsequently was held on charges by the Enforcement Directorate and has been in jail since February 23. On Friday, as the NCB admitted there was no case against Aryan, the NCP and its allies Congress and Shiv Sena rallied behind Malik.

The Indian Express said the government was also contemplating action against Wankhede.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2022

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