Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan was granted bail on Thursday, 25 days after he was arrested in a drugs case that had gripped India.
After a special NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act court in Mumbai rejected Mr Khan’s bail application for the fourth time last Wednesday (22 October), his counsel moved the Bombay High Court to appeal the lower court’s decision.
The bail application of two other persons arrested along with Mr Khan — Arbaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha — have also been granted.
Aryan Khan, Mr Merchant and Ms Dhamecha were arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau, India’s top drug enforcement agency, on 3 October.
On 2 October, NCB officials, dressed in plain clothes, raided a luxury cruise ship in Mumbai city. At the time, authorities said that 13g of cocaine, 21g of charas (cannabis), 22 pills of MDMA, 5g of mephedrone, and Rs 130,000 (£1,260) in cash were recovered during the raid.
Mr Khan was reportedly apprehended for the alleged conspiracy, possession, consumption, purchase and trafficking of drugs.
However, no drugs were recovered from his person.
Representing the NCB, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh referred to Mr Khan’s WhatsApp chats and alleged that he has been consuming drugs regularly for three years while he was studying overseas. The NCB has asked that Mr Khan remain in custody while they investigate his alleged role in international drug trafficking.
The NCB also said that since 6g of cannabis byproduct was found on Mr Merchant, who is reportedly friends with Mr Khan, it amounted to “conscious possession” on the part of the Bollywood superstar’s son.
Appearing on behalf of Mr Khan, former attorney general of India Mr Mukul Rohatgi argued that Indian law “provides for young boys with no antecedents (to be treated) as victims, rather than (as) hardened criminals. They are entitled (to) rehab and there is immunity (from) prosecution in rehab.”
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“It is a fit case for bail,” Mr Rohatgi added.
The high profile case has dominated news in India for over a fortnight. Everything from Mr Khan’s diet in jail to allegedly incriminating WhatsApp messages has been scrutinised.
However, many in the country believe the actor’s son is being unfairly targeted.
A detailed court order on the High Court’s verdict is awaited.