An Indian court on Thursday granted bail to the son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, more than three weeks after he was arrested in a drugs case that has dominated news headlines and polarised social media in the cinema-obsessed nation.
“The court has granted bail just now and hopefully all the three petitioners will come out of jail tomorrow or on Saturday,” Mukul Rohatgi, a lawyer who appeared for Khan’s son, told reporters outside a court in India’s financial capital Mumbai.
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What actually happened?
The Narcotic Control Bureau, the federal agency that conducted the raid, has alleged that Khan’s son is a regular user and supplier of drugs.
Khan’s son, through lawyers, has denied the charges, contending that no drugs were found on him during the raid.
Nawab Malik, a minister in the state cabinet of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, has alleged that the charges on Khan’s son and others are trumped up, and demanded that the officer in charge of the investigation be changed.
The officer, Sameer Wankhede, has denied the allegations.
Khan, a Muslim and one of India’s best-known public figures, has found much support on social media as his son’s legal case continued for weeks.
The agency had last week opposed Khan’s bail plea for the second time, saying it would affect their investigation because he could tamper with evidence and influence witnesses.
A social media fiasco
The case has been dominating media headlines for weeks and has divided social media between India, with fans of the actor demanding Khan’s release while others calling for a boycott of his father’s films.
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On Twitter, Khan and his father’s name have been trending alongside hashtag #BollywoodDruggies. India’s freewheeling TV news channels have also given wall-to-wall coverage to the case, with many of them siding with the narcotics agency.
“Thank god,” said actor Ranganathan Madhavan in a tweet after the bail order. “As a father I am so relieved.”
Many high-profile Indian actors and TV personalities have been under scrutiny from narcotics officials since last year.
In September 2020, several top female actors were questioned by the NCB, though it was unclear how the investigation progressed.