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Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan leaves the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) office to be produced before the court in a drug-related case, in Mumbai on Friday. Image Credit: ANI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray finally broke his silence on the Aryan Khan drug case, stating during his public address that the cruise ship scandal was just a ploy to defame the Indian state.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the Hindu festival of Dusshera on October 15, Thackeray made comments about the Narcotics Control Bureau without directly mentioning Shah Rukh Khan or his son Aryan, the latter who is currently behind bars in Mumbai.

“Is (drugs seizure) only happening in Maharashtra? Drugs worth crores were seized from Mundra Port. Where is this Mundra port situated?,” he asked, alluding to India’s largest commercial port in the state of Gujarat.

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray Image Credit: Reuters

“While your agencies (NCB) were recovering pinch of ganja, our police recovered drugs worth Rs150 crores. You are only interested to catch celebrities and get pictures clicked,” he stated, as reported by ANI.

Thackeray’s comment, hinting at a political motivation behind the Aryan arrest and the corresponding media circus, joins a growing outcry from people in power and celebrities who are calling out the NCB and accusing them of harassment.

On Saturday, Farah Khan Ali, former sister-in-law of Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan and a jewellery designer to the stars, also lashed out at the NCB on her Twitter account for failing to decipher lingo used by Gen-next.

“Dear NCB, The millennials of today have a language I had to Google to know. FOMO - Fear of missing out. SICK - Something that is cool. DOPE - Something Excellent. GOAT - Greatest of all time. BLAST - To have a good time. Want more, please see pic attached herein,” wrote Khan Ali, while posting a few more pop cultural words and their meaning.

Khan Ali’s tweet came in response to a summarization of Friday’s hearing in the case, where the public prosecutor stated that in the WhatsApp chats found on Aryan’s phone, accused Arbaaz A Merchant admitted they were going aboard the Cordelia Cruise for ‘blast’, with the lawyer implying that was code for consuming drugs.

Aryan, who will remain behind bars until October 20, was detained, the arrested on the night of October 2 after he was boarding a Cordelia Cruise ship in Mumbai, bound for Goa. The NCB alleged they busted a drugs party and a total of 20 people, including Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son, have been arrested so far in the case.

From Congress leader Shashi Tharoor to Swara Bhaskar, several people in power have come out in defense of Aryan, calling it a ‘witch hunt’ and ‘harassment’.

Shah Rukh Khan, with Suhana Khan, Aryan Khan, AbRam Khan and Gauri Khan
Shah Rukh Khan, with Suhana Khan, Aryan Khan, AbRam Khan and Gauri Khan Image Credit:

Meanwhile, it was reported that Aryan, who is lodged in Arthur Road Jail, reportedly received a money order from his parents of Rs4,500 to utilize towards the jail canteen, considering food from home isn’t being allowed by authorities.

Aryan also reportedly had a video chat with Shah Rukh and his mother Gauri Khan on Friday after getting permission.

The fallout from the arrest has been swift, with Shah Rukh’s big Bollywood comeback up in the air as he fights his son’s case. Meanwhile, educational app BYJU has reportedly pulled ads featuring the Bollywood star in wake of the drug bust.