Mumbai: Film executive Kshitij Prasad, who was arrested last week by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in the drugs probe linked to Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, was allegedly harassed and blackmailed by the agency’s officials to falsely implicate filmmaker Karan Johar and his other top executives.
Prasad’s lawyer told this to a Mumbai court on Sunday, according to a report by NDTV.
“NCB officers said they would let me off if I implicated either Karan Johar, Somel Mishra, Rakhi, Apoorva, Neeraj or Rahil. The investigating officers “asked me to falsely allege that they consumed drugs,” Prasad was quoted as saying by the lawyer in the court.
“I refused to comply with this despite the pressure being mounted on me as I did not know any of these people personally… and I did not wish to falsely implicate anyone,” he added.
The lawyer also named one of the investigating officers, Sameer Wankhede, in his statement. “Sameer Wankhede told him (Kshitij Prasad) 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. Sameer Wankhede then put the shoe of his foot near Kshitij’s face and proclaimed that this was his true aukaad (status),” the lawyer told the court, adding that the other officers around “laughed at this plight”.
The incident “severely traumatised Prasad” and after over 48 hours in custody, “he was extremely fatigued and shaken”, the said, adding that his client also requested to speak with Sameer Wankhede alone and enquired if he had offended him.
When Prasad said he would like to speak with his lawyer or family, “Sameer Wankhede informed him that if he wished to be granted a call, he should sign the statement they prepared, which he could retract later. Prasad was unaware of the legalities involved… At the end of nearly 50 hours of interrogation, humiliation and torment, Prasad in his desperation to speak to his lawyer or family, unwillingly and under threats signed the statement”, the lawyer told the court.
Last week, Karan Johar had denied claims that Prasad was associated with his company Dharma Productions. Prasad joined Dharmatic Entertainment, a company linked to Dharma Productions, in November 2019 as one of the executive producers on contract basis for a project which eventually did not materialise, Johar had said.