Aryan Khan Saga: A Usual Case or Paying the Price

Aryan Khan got ₹ 4,500 money order, had video call with SRK, Gauri Khan -  TheFactNews

by Rajesh Sinha   24 October 2021

In the last few days, the Indian media is incessantly talking about one particular case of drugs, arrests and the subsequent cumbersome legal process. There should be nothing special about it except this time it involves an individual who happens to be ARYAN KHAN, the 24-year old son of Sharukh Khan, one of the leading and highly popular actors from the Bollywood, Hindi film industry.

While this should have been a normal case of drugs (charas, cocaine, MDMA which are illegal in India) seizure and arrests, the case has turned political and even taken communal and personal colour. In contemporary India, the easy availability of the internet and the proliferation of unprecedented media, including social media, has created a situation where everybody uses them to express her/his thoughts/knowledge on one and everything irrespective of whether s/he has the factual idea of it or otherwise.

In the process, Aryan Khan who tills recently was merely known as the elder son of Shahrukh Khan and occasionally followed by the paparazzi when seen leaving for the US or for vacations, is nowadays being followed by media on how he is spending his days and nights in the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai. The media frenzy is certainly creating troubles for the young guy as well as his family who have since the beginning of the sordid episode, have maintained a dignified silence. So have been some of his close friends and acquaintances, including Salman Khan who has visited Shahrukh at his residence Mannat, at least a couple of times but refrained from expressing his thoughts in the media.

The entire story began on the night of October 2 when reportedly Aryan along with his friends, Munmum Dhamecha and Arbaaz Merchant went to a party on a luxury cruiser. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) led by its Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede went to the cruiser in disguise, made some searches and detained some people, Aryan being one of them.

All detainees were brought to the NCB office and subsequently charged with various sections of the prevailing Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. All of them were put in court and later remanded to judicial custody. Aryan was charged with “involvement in consumption, sale and purchase” of contraband punishable under sections 8(c) and 20(b) of the NDPS Act. It also stipulates consumption of the drugs as the punishable offence of varying terms under Section 27 while Section 35 presumes the person to be doing it knowingly and hence treats him as guilty unless proven innocent.

The case is getting on as per the legal provisions with NCB submitting its purported evidence before the court and Aryan is yet to get any bail/relief from the NDPS Court and has reached out to the Mumbai High Court. Of course, a battery of very powerful lawyers is dealing with his case. However, what seems amusing is the way a good number of actors/former actors from Bollywood have jumped into defending Aryan and at the same time, indirectly ascribing motives to the NCB and its officials.

Some of the out-of-work Bollywood actors who fail to get any limelight otherwise have gone onto Twitter, defending Aryan and empathising with the Khan family. Implicit has been their remarks suggesting that Aryan is made to pay the price of being the son of Shahrukh Khan. The celebrated lyricist and vocal critic Javed has suggested that he is the son of a celebrity is targeted while Pooja Bhatt, Swara Bhaskar, Prahlad Kakkar have indicated that he is being hounded by government agencies for Shahrukh’s implicit anti-government stance.

Not to be left behind, some politicians like Shashi Tharoor termed it as “witch-hunting of Sharukh Khan” while Mehbooba Mufti suggested Aryan’s religion is the one for him getting targeted. Nawab Malik, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader from Maharashtra, one of whose close relatives is already facing charges of drug peddling from the same officials of NCB and was jailed, is each day coming out with a wild set of allegations against the NCB and its Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, even threatening him with jail. So much so that personal lives and family members/relatives of the concerned officers are being targeted by him on a regular basis.

It would be interesting to objectively analyse facts and one of them is that nobody has been able to convincingly argue that Aryan is being falsely implicated or that he has no association with drugs. Surprisingly, from the Chief Minister of the state Uddhav Thackrey to many others, seem suggest that drugs consumption on a modest scale is quite prevalent, especially among the film industry and people should not be detained/arrested for such trivial issues and NCB is making it up for political gains for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

The facts of the case are very clear though. One, the BJP as the ruling party will not gain anything by falsely implicating a few faces from Bollywood since Shahrukh Khan is immensely popular among Indians, cutting across the political divide. The PM Modi personally has met Shahrukh Khan previously and has talked of his huge appeal. Secondly, the religious discrimination argument does not have any merit since along with Aryan, seven other young people have been arrested and all have so far been denied bail. Riya Chakraborty, another face from Bollywood too, made headlines last year when she too was arrested by NCB on a drug case, and certainly, she is no Muslim and so is the others, arrested along with Aryan.

Thirdly, the federal government whose agency NCB is, should not have any interest in denigrating Bollywood because the industry projects a vibrant, successful image of India around the world which is being repeatedly talked about and used by the current Indian government. One of the politicians who seem unusually highly interested in the case does have a personal interest and vendetta in putting the NCB and Sameer Wankhede in the dock. Finally, the undue media frenzy in the case is natural since it involves a big superstar of the Indian film industry. When celebrities get media attention for all they do during their vacations, popular events, and so on they do not crib. The media, of course, will use such difficult times in the life of a celebrity too, to enhance its circulation/TRP. Of course, they are expected to be objective which in many cases, they are not.

The only argument that seems in the case is that since these celebrities live in their own world, using a little bit of illegal contraband should not get highlighted and cases pursued since they bring a bad name to the film industry. However, when small people get caught for drug consumption/trafficking all these big names do not bother to even enquire or follow those cases. And to pursue personal and political vested interests, such people could stoop to any level, creating troubles on the socio-religious lines, bringing bad names to the Indian society and honest, upright officials.

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