Former Executive Director of Karan Johar’s Dharmatic Entertainment Kshitij Prasad on Saturday told a court that Narcotics Control Bureau officials were forcing him to implicate actors Ranbir Kapoor, Dino Morea and Arjun Rampal in the drug investigation involving Bollywood celebrities, The Indian Express reported. The agency has denied Prasad’s claims, saying it was carrying out the investigation in a “professional manner.”
In an application, Prasad claimed that agency officials were again making him sign false statements. He added that he was also retracting bits from them, including the self-incriminatory portions, according to the report. He had earlier claimed that he was forced to falsely implicate Johar and other executive directors of the company.
The Narcotics Control Bureau replied that Prasad was “totally non-cooperative, adamant and arrogant” and had also declined to sign the statement he had given.
“He was trying to bargain hard for putting his signature on the statement in lieu of removal of Section 27A of the NDPS [Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985] Act,” the agency submitted to the court. The section pertains to the punishment for financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders.
The agency also submitted Prasad’s statement and said that it did not contain any of the names he mentioned.
In a written statement, Prasad claimed, “I say that I am being mentally, emotionally and psychologically harassed and abused by the complainant [the Narcotics Control Bureau] into making false statements.” The statement, submitted through his lawyer Satish Maneshinde, alleged that agency officials had dictated the statement to the former executive director and made him sign it under pressure. Prasad was also threatened by the officials that they would implicate his wife and other family members if he did not sign, the statement alleged.
“Upon reading of the statement, the accused also realised that many parts of the statement were unilaterally included by the officers without his consent [and] are completely false,” Maneshinde said.
Prasad was arrested on September 26 and remanded in agency custody till October 3. On Saturday, he was sent to jail till October 6.
The agency has claimed that Prasad and alleged drug peddlers connected with the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, had links with Rajput’s cook Dipesh Sawant, actor Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik Chakraborty. The agency has also claimed that Prasad was part of a conspiracy surrounding drug procurement and distribution, and had received weed from co-accused Ankush Arneja, an alleged drug peddler.
However, an official had earlier told The Indian Express that they have not yet established to whom Prasad allegedly supplied drugs to or the quantity he consumed, but claimed that his prima facie involvement in financing someone “was enough to charge him”.
The unidentified official said that Prasad had claimed he did not supply narcotics to anyone but procured it for personal consumption. During the interrogation, Prasad had denied consuming drugs, but the agency had established he had been in contact with the alleged drug peddlers more than 20 times, the official said, adding this was the reason behind the charges of financing and conspiracy.
Twenty arrests have been made so far in the alleged Bollywood drug nexus case, which rose from an inquiry into the death of Rajput. Rhea and Showik Chakraborty are among those arrested. Several high-profile actors, including Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan, have also been questioned in the drugs case.
Rajput was found dead in his apartment in Bandra on June 14, in what the Mumbai Police said was a case of suicide. The case is already being looked into by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate.