Former Dharmatic Entertainment producer Kshitij Ravi Prasad claims NCB forced him to implicate Karan Johar
Kshitij Ravi Prasad's lawyer Satish Maneshinde said the NCB had 'harassed and blackmailed' his client into making a statement.
Kshitij Ravi Prasad, a former executive producer for Dharmatic Entertainment, who was arrested yesterday, told a Mumbai Court that the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) asked him to implicate Karan Johar and others working at Dharma Productions of consuming drugs.
This claim has been denied by Deputy Director General (South West), Mutha Ashok Jain, who said the questioning was conducted in a "professional manner," reports The Indian Express.
The NCB told the court they had seized “roll joint believed to be remains of smoked ganja” from Prasad's house. The agency also said the producer had made bank and cash payments of around Rs 3500 to purchase marijuana between May and July. It said Prasad is indirectly connected with accused Anuj Keshwani, from whom commercial quantity of a contraband was confiscated.
However, Prasad's lawyer Satish Maneshinde said his client, who produced before a magistrate court in Mumbai via video conferencing, had been "harassed and blackmailed" into making a statement. He added that his client's statement was recorded by NCB's Mumbai head Sameer Wankhede, during which "various patently false claims were inserted despite his (Prasad’s) protests."
"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.
Wakhende called this a routine practice of the accused to make such allegations. NCB's Deputy DG Jain said Prasad's claims were untrue and the agency did not have an intended target than what the investigation reveals.
While seeking Prasad's custody, the NCB referred to Ankush Arneja's statement where he had said to have supplied hashish to Prasad through accused Sanket Patel. Patel, arrested and eventually granted bail, allegedly told the NCB that he delivered hashish to Prasad's house in Andheri on a dozen occasions between May and July this year.
In Prasad's remand application, the NCB stated that it is integral to find out whom Prasad was delivering drugs to in Bollywood. The agency told the court that Prasad was uncooperative and sought his custody till 5 October.
Maneshinde said Prasad told the court he was asked to sit on the floor during the interrogation as Wankhede put a shoe near his face. After spending 48 hours in custody, he said Prasad was "extremely fatigue and shaken". The lawyer sought permission for Prasad to speak to a lawyer or a family member.
Maneshinde further said Wankhede told Prasad that in exchange for a phone call, he should sign a statement prepared by them, which could be retracted later. Wankhede also allegedly told Prasad that if he did not sign the statement, he would not be able to access a lawyer or family. He claimed that Prasad signed the statement under duress.
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