Mumbai, Oct 05: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has arrested seven more persons, including four “high-profile organisers” belonging to a Delhi-based event management company, in connection with the seizure of banned drugs from a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast in which Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan is one of the accused, an official said on Tuesday.
With the arrest of the seven more persons, the number of people arrested by the anti-drugs agency so far reached 16, he said.
The Delhi-based firm was tasked with the management of the event onboard Cordelia Cruises ship, which was supposed to take place from October 2 to October 4, an NCB official had said.
The four organisers belonging to the event management firm who are arrested by the NCB are identified as Gopal Jee Anand, Samir Sehgal, Manav Singhal and Bhaskar Arora, the official said.
The anti-drugs agency had earlier arrested nine people, including Aryan Khan, after raiding the Goa-bound ship on Saturday.
After the raid, the NCB’s Mumbai zonal unit started a crackdown on drug peddlers connected with the arrested persons. The agency sleuths also brought some suspects, including from the cruise ship, to the NCB’s office here for questioning, the official said.
During the questioning of suspects, the role of few more persons had come to light, following which they were placed under arrest, the official said.
Earlier in the day, the anti-drugs agency said it had arrested two more persons in connection with the seizure of drugs from the cruise ship.
In an operation conducted on Monday and Tuesday, the NCB arrested Shreyas Nair, Manish Rajgaria, Avin Sahu, Gopal Jee Anand, Samir Sehgal, Manav Singhal and Bhaskar Arora, the NCB said.
Apart from Aryan Khan, the NCB has so far arrested Arbaaz Merchant, Munmun Dhamecha, Nupur Satija, Ishmeet Chadha, Mohak Jaiswal, Gomit Chopra, Vikrant Chhokar and a drug supplier from suburban Juhu.
Based on the preliminary interrogation of the accused Mohak Jaswal, a team of NCB conducted a raid at Jogeshwari in Mumbai and intercepted one person with 2.5 gm of ecstasy and 54.3 gm (commercial quantity) of Mephedrone in his possession.
On the information provided by another arrested accused Ishmeet Singh Chadha, Shreyas Nair was arrested from suburban Goregaon with a small quantity of Charas, the NCB said.
Manish Rajgaria, who was invited as a guest on the ship, was arrested with a small quantity of hydroponic weed multi-strain cannabis. Avin Sahu, who sailed in the cruise ship, was arrested on the consumption charges, the NCB said.
Earlier on Tuesday, additional chief metropolitan magistrate R M Nerlikar remanded Abdul Qadir Sheikh (30), Shreyas Nair (23), Manish Rajgariya (26) and Avin Sahu (30) to the NCB custody till October 11.
The court on Monday remanded Aryan Khan (23) and seven others to the NCB custody till Thursday.
Meanwhile, when asked about the seizure of drugs from the cruise ship, a Mumbai Police official said on Tuesday that they are ascertaining whether necessary permissions were obtained from the DG, Shipping, and other authorities.
The NCB on Monday claimed before a city court that “shocking and incriminating” material recovered in WhatsApp chats of Aryan Khan and two others arrested in connection with the case showed international drug trafficking.
The Narcotics Control Bureau, which got the remand of Aryan Khan (23) and the other eight accused from the court till Thursday, also claimed that in the WhatsApp chats he is discussing modes of payment to be done for procurement (of drugs) and that several code names are being used.
Aryan Khan’s lawyer had claimed no drugs were recovered from his client’s possession.
The NCB on Sunday said they had seized 13 grams of cocaine, five grams of MD, 21 grams of charas and 22 pills of Ecstasy and Rs 1.33 lakh.
Meanwhile, family members of the arrested accused gathered outside the NCB office in south Mumbai on Tuesday.
Aslam Merchant, the father of Arbaaz Merchant, told media persons that his son and Aryan Khan are innocent.
“Aryan and Arbaaz are close friends for the last 15 years. They are innocent. My son was falsely implicated in this case. He and Aryan had not even boarded the cruise ship. Aryan was invited on the ship as a celebrity while Arbaaz accompanied him as his friend. Aryan had asked Arbaaz to accompany him,” Aslam Merchant claimed.