Producer Kshitij Prasad was allegedly blackmailed and told to name Dharma Productions head Karan Johar while being questioned by the NCB in a drug investigation linked to Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
Prasad on Sunday was produced for remand before the Learned Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate through video conference.
- Bollywood: From Shahrukh Khan to Amitabh Bachchan, remembering the romance maker Yash chopra on his birthday
- Daughters' Day 2020: From Sanjay Dutt in Dubai to Kajol in Singapore, Bollywood stars send out special wishes to their girls
- From Rajinikanth to Salman Khan, India's stars mourn veteran singer Balasubrahmanyam
- See: Hong Kong Disneyland opens as city's cases fall
“Before the proceedings began I informed the Magistrate that Kshitij was harassed and blackmailed to make a statement apart from third degree and ill treatment. I requested the Magistrate to record his statement. Kshitij recorded his statement made before the Ld Magistrate during his remand today which contained the following,” said advocate Satish Maneshinde.
During his questioning, Prasad was informed by officer 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 either Karan Johar, Somel Mishra, Rakhi, Apoorva, Neeraj or Rahil, falsely alleging that they consumed drugs.
Prasad 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.
Irked by Prasad’s refusal to comply, Wankhede told him that since he did not want to cooperate he would teach him a lesson and made him sit on the floor next to his chair. According the Prasad’s lawyer, Wankhede then put the shoe of his foot near his face and proclaimed that this was his true aukad (status).
Maneshinde said the incident severely traumatised Prasad, who had never been in this kind of situation before. After over 48 hours in such custody, he was extremely fatigued and shaken.
He requested to speak with Wankhede alone and inquired if he had offended him in any way or done anything to irk him. He also reiterated that he would like to speak with his lawyer or family, stated Maneshinde.
Wankhede informed him that if he wished to be granted a call, he should sign the statement they had prepared which he could retract later. Prasad was unaware of the legalities involved and had never even come across this term of ‘retraction of statement’. Wankhede then informed him that if he did not sign the statement, the pressure would continue to mount and he would not be given access to his family or lawyer.
At the end of nearly 50 hours of interrogation, Prasad in his desperation to speak to his lawyer or family, unwillingly and under threats signed the statement.
The Magistrate heard both the sides later and remanded Prasad to NCB custody until October 3, 2020.
It can be seen from the remand application and the statement of Prasad that NCB is bent upon falsely implicating Johar or some top officers of Dharma Productions, Maneshinde asserted.