Kshitij Prasad
Kshitij Prasad
Bhushan Koyande

A former employee of Dharma Productions, Kshitij Prasad has told a special narcotics court, in his plea to retract the statements made to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) during custodial interrogation, that officers ‘repeatedly harassed’ and ‘coerced’ him into falsely implicating actors Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal and Dino Morea in the drugs case related to Sushant Singh Rajput that they are probing.

They did so, he said, though he told them that he did not know the individuals or have any knowledge of the allegations he was asked to make.

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 retraction statement, 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 he was being ‘mentally, emotionally and psychologically harassed’ into making false statements.

The 30-year-old had earlier told a magistrate court, on 27 September, where he was first produced after arrest, that officers had tried to coerce him into implicating Karan Johar and other bigwigs of his production house.

His plea, on Saturday, further said that officers had threatened to implicate his wife and other family members if he did not implicate Karan Johar and his senior executives 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 October 6, 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 Section 27A of the NDPS Act against him. The section pertains to illicit financing of drugs and harbouring offenders.

The agency, on Saturday, sought that he be remanded in judicial custody until October 6. This was granted by the court. The NCB had arrested Prasad on September 26 based on the statements of accused Ankush Arneja, the agency claimed.

Responding to the allegations, the NCB said that Kshitij has started taking new names of celebrities just to ‘sensationalise’ the case. The agency has reiterated that Kshitij has been making such allegations that are devoid of any facts.

(With inputs from Pratik Salunke)

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