Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan on Thursday met his son Aryan Khan in the Arthur Road jail where the latter is lodged following his arrest in a drugs case earlier this month, a day after a Mumbai court rejected his bail plea, prolonging his stay in prison. The 55-year-old superstar, dressed in a T-shirt and a pair of jeans and wearing a face mask, reached the high-security prison located in Mumbai Central around 9 am and came out at 9.35 am, an official said. A large number of people and media persons had gathered outside the jail when the actor visited the prison. As he came out of the prison, Shah Rukh Khan was mobbed by reporters, one of whom could be heard asking what he talked to Aryan Khan about. The superstar waded his way through a sea of people and got into his car without a word. He was seen greeting some people with folded hands in videos circulating on social media. This was the first time Aryan Khan (23) met any family member since his arrest by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on October 3 in the case related to alleged seizure of drugs from a cruise ship. The superstar’s visit to the Arthur Road jail was his first public appearance since his son’s arrest and was followed by a team of NCB officials visiting his home ‘Mannat’. The prison authorities checked the actor’s Aadhaar card and other documents before he entered the premises, officials said. After the verification of documents, a token was given to him by prison officials, following which he was allowed to meet his son, who is lodged in the jail’s general cell as an undertrial. Shah Rukh Khan met his son for 15 to 20 minutes, a prison official said, adding that there was a glass fencing between them and they spoke on the intercom. Four guards were present along with them during their conversation, he said. The actor was allowed to meet his son, as per the prison manual, like any other family member of a prisoner and no special treatment was given to him, the official said.
A large number of mediapersons and local residents had gathered outside the prison when the actor arrived. Heavy police security was deployed outside the jail premises where a large number of people and media persons had gathered. Till now, family members of the prisoners were not being allowed to visit the jail in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The prison authorities started allowing the family members of prisoners to visit them from Thursday morning, the official said. Aryan Khan was arrested along with a few others after the NCB raided the cruise ship off the Mumbai coast and claimed to have seized drugs, including charas. A special court here on Wednesday denied bail to Aryan Khan, observing that ‘on the face of it’, he was indulging in “illicit drug activities on a regular basis”. His WhatsApp chats also showed, prima facie, that he was in touch with drug peddlers, the court noted. On Thursday, the special court extended the judicial custody of Aryan Khan and seven other accused till October 30. Aryan Khan has moved the Bombay High Court for bail and his plea will he heard on October 26. Meanwhile, a team of the NCB’s Mumbai zonal unit visited Shah Rukh Khan’s residence ‘Mannat’ in suburban Bandra in the afternoon for seeking certain material related to the investigation into the drugs case, a senior official of the central agency said. “It was not a raid,” he clarified, without providing details.
A large number of Shah Rukh Khan fans had gathered in front of his home in a show of solidarity. The NCB conducted searches at multiple locations in Mumbai since Wednesday night in connection with its probe into the cruise drugs party case, according to sources. In a related development, the NCB on Thursday recorded the statement of Bollywood actor Ananya Panday after it allegedly came across some WhatsApp chats during its investigation against Aryan Khan in the drugs case, sources said. Ananya Panday’s actor-father Chunky Panday accompanied her to the NCB office located at Ballard Estate in south Mumbai, where they reached around 4 pm.
After recording her statement, Ananya Panday left the agency office around 6.15 pm, the sources said adding she is likely to be called on Friday as well. The NCB’s Mumbai zonal unit, which is probing the cruise drugs seizure case visited Ananya Panday’s residence in Bandra in the morning and summoned her to record her statement later in the day, they said. Ananya Panday’s name cropped up in the case after certain WhatsApp chats between her and Aryan Khan were allegedly found in the latter’s mobile phone, the sources said, adding that earlier in the day, the NCB officials seized her mobile phone and laptop. However, the NCB officials are yet to clarify about her role, if any, in the case. There was heavy deployment of police outside the NCB office and a large number of media persons were also present there when the father-daughter duo arrived in the afternoon.