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We are not targeting Shah Rukh Khan, says senior NCB official

Web report/Mumbai
Filed on October 5, 2021
Photo: ANI

He said that the media only spotlights arrests when a celebrity is involved or caught for violating the law

Social media is rife with allegations of authorities targeting Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's family, after a court in Mumbai extended the custody of his son Aryan in an ongoing drug case till October 7.

However, a senior official of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) — which picked up Aryan and his friends from a party on board a ship on October 2 — told media on Tuesday that the agency was not "targeting" the film star.

“We are not targeting anyone,” Sameer Wankhede, the NCB’s zonal director in Mumbai told the media. “We have nothing against Shah Rukh Khan. We arrested more than 300 people in the last 10 months, and just about five would be well-known people.”

According to Wankhede, most of those arrested by the NCB in recent months were hardened drug criminals. The official said that the media only spotlights arrests when a celebrity is involved or caught for violating the law.

However, SRK supporters have voiced their criticism of the agency. Sussanne Khan, the former wife of Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan, who is very close to Gauri Khan, Aryan’s mother, pointed out that it was not about Aryan “as he was unfortunately at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

In her reply to an Instagram post, Sussanne said: “This situation is being made an example to drive home the excitement that some people get as they have a witch hunt on people from Bollywood. It’s sad n unfair as he is a good kid. I stand by Gauri n Shahrukh (sic).”

The father of Aryan’s close friend Arbaaz Merchant, who was detained along with him, has also responded to the charges against his son. "It is all baseless allegations, but it is under investigation (sic),” he told a TV network.

“It is very premature to state anything at this point in time. The NCB has been very cooperative and very nice to the kids. I being a lawyer, have faith in the judiciary. The truth will prevail and they will come out scot-free. They are innocent,” he added.

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Referring to the NCB’s claim that it had found “shocking and incriminating material” from WhatsApp chats of Aryan and Arbaaz, Merchant asserted there were no such messages.

“They were not even prepared; it was just a last-minute decision of going to the ship,” he said. “They just decided out of the blue. Arbaaz had breakfast with me and was supposed to join for dinner.”