Producer Kshitij Prasad alleges NCB forced him to implicate Karan Johar in drugs probe, agency denies charge: report
Former Dharmatic Entertainment (the digital arm of Dharma Productions) employee Kshitij Prasad has alleged that he was forced by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to falsely implicate Karan Johar and other executives of the production house in the case of alleged consumption of drugs. The agency has denied the charge, claiming that the investigation was done in a professional manner.
Kshitij was arrested on Saturday. He had been called in for questioning in connection with the investigation into the alleged Bollywood drug nexus on Friday. On Saturday, three top actors - Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor - were also questioned by the agency. On Friday, Rakul Preet Singh and Deepika’s manager Karishma Prakash had been questioned by NCB.
According to a report in Indian Express, the former Dharmatic Entertainment employee told a Mumbai court on Sunday that the agency had forced him to falsely implicate Karan and his associates. NCB’s Deputy DG Mutha Ashok Jain refuted the allegations and said that the probe was progressing in a “professional manner”.
Satish Maneshinde, who is representing Kshitij, told the publication that his client had been “harassed and blackmailed” by NCB to make the statement. Kshitij had been produced before metropolitan magistrate by video conferencing. Maneshinde added that Kshitij had told the court that his statement had been recorded by Sameer Wankhede, in-charge of the Mumbai unit of the NCB.
Maneshinde was quoted in the report as saying, “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.”
NCB Deputy DG Jain said: “The investigation is being carried out in a professional manner and there is no intended target other than what is revealed during the investigation. The allegations (by Prasad) are absolutely untrue.”
In a statement last week, Karan had distanced himself from Kshitij, explaining how he did not know him personally. He had added that Kshitij had only briefly been employed by Karan’s Dharmatic Entertainment, a sister concern of Dharma Productions, in 2019.
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