A former employee of Dharma Productions Kshitij Prasad has told a special Narcotics court in his plea for retraction of his confession statements that Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officers “repeatedly harassed” and “coerced” him into falsely implicating actors Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal and Dino Morea in the drugs case related to late actor Sushant Singh Rajput that the agency is probing.
This, he said, though he told the officers he did not know the individuals or have any knowledge of the allegations he was asked to make. Prasad had been produced before the court on Saturday after his custody with the agency ended. When the judge asked him whether he has any complaints of ill-treatment during custody, he is said to have made the statement regarding coercion in the witness box.
Advocate Satish Maneshide, who also represents actor Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik Chakraborty in the case appeared for Prasad. Prasad said further in his plea filed before court that as he refused to write such false statements in his own handwriting, the agency prepared various false statements as per their own wish and tried to coerce him into signing them.
Prasad said in his plea he was being “mentally, emotionally and psychologically harassed” into making false statements.
The 30-year-old had earlier told a magistrate court where he was first produced after arrest that officers had tried to make him falsely implicate Karan Johar and other big-wigs of Johar’s production house. His plea on Saturday further said officers had threatened to implicate his wife and other family members if he did not implicate Karan Johar and his senior executors of the production house.
The NCB on the other hand, in its remand plea filed though Special Public Prosecutor Atul Sarpande, seeking judicial custody of Prasad for three days until 6 October, said that he had been “totally non-cooperative, adamant and arrogant” and refused to sign the statements he had given. The agency also said that he was trying to bargain hard to put his signature on the statements in exchange for the agency removing offences under Sec 27A of the NDPS Act against him. The section pertains to financing illicit traffic of drugs and harbouring offenders and is non-bailable.
Special judge GB Gurao remanded Prasad in judicial custody till 6 October. The NCB had arrested Prasad on 26 September based on statements of accused Ankush Arneja, the agency claimed.