Former executive producer Kshitij Prasad, who was arrested in a drug probe related to Sushant Singh Rajput's death, told a Mumbai court that Narcotics Control Bureau officer had forced him to falsely implicate Karan Johar and other executives of Dharma Productions in a case of alleged consumption of drugs.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had arrested Prasad on Saturday. His lawyer Satish Maneshinde said that Prasad was 'forced to falsely implicate' Johar and his other top executives. Maneshinde said that Prasad had been 'harassed and blackmailed' by the agency investigators to make a statement, apart from third-degree and ill-treatment.
"NCB officers said they would let me off if I implicated either Karan Johar, Somel Mishra, Rakhi, Apoorva, Neeraj or Rahil. The investigating officers asked me to falsely allege that they consumed drugs. I refused to comply with this despite the pressure being mounted," NDTV quoted Prasad as saying.
One of the investigating officers, Sameer Wankhede was mentioned in Prasad's statement. "Sameer Wankhede told him that since he did not want to cooperate, he would teach him a lesson and made him sit on the floor next to his chair, and then put the shoe of his foot near Kshitij's face and proclaimed that this was his true aukaat (status), while rest of the officers laughed at his plight," the lawyer told the court.
The NCB had summoned Prasad on Friday in connection with the investigation in the alleged 'drugs nexus' in Bollywood. He was later arrested on Saturday.
"The NCB officers apart from Sameer Wankhede were courteous to Kshitij and provided him with a comfortable sleeping arrangement. The next morning when his statement recording resumed, Kshitij was categorically informed by Sameer Wankhede in the presence of several other officers, that since he was associated with Dharma Productions, they would let him off if he implicated Karan Johar and some others, falsely alleging that they consumed drugs. Kshitij refused to comply with this despite the pressure being mounted on him as he did not know any of these people personally and did not wish to falsely implicate anyone," Maneshinde said.
However, Prasad's claim has been denied by Deputy Director General (South West), Mutha Ashok Jain, who said the questioning was conducted in a "professional manner," reported The Indian Express.
Jain added that the investigation is being carried out in a professional manner and there is no intended target. Even Wankhede denied the allegations, saying that it is routine practice on the part of the accused to make such allegations.
The agency told the court on Sunday that according to the statement of another accused in the case, Prasad had made payments to the tune of ₹3,500 each on around a dozen occasions between May and July, for the purchase of ganja.
The NCB submitted further said that the accused Ankush Arneja had mentioned in his statement that he had supplied hash to Prasad through accused Sanket Patel on various occasions.
Patel, who was arrested and granted bail, has allegedly told the NCB that he delivered 50 grams of 'ganja' to Prasad outside his residence in Andheri around 12 times between May and July this year.
The NCB claimed that it had seized the remaining, few documents and gadgets from Prasad's home. The agency says that Prasad is indirectly connected with accused Anuj Keshwani from whom commercial quantities of narcotics were seized.
"Therefore, it is necessary to interrogate in-depth as to whom he was delivering contraband in Bollywood," the agency's remand application as reported by the media. NCB also told the court that Prasad was not cooperating with the investigation, and sought his custody until October 5.