NCB officials on Saturday night raided a Goa-bound cruise ship off the Mumbai coast and seized narcotics. They said eight persons including Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan have been detained for questioning.
Why did NCB raid the cruise ship?
During the questioning of some drug peddlers, NCB officials said, they came to know that some people taking the cruise to Goa will be carrying drugs with them.
Based on this tip, around 20 NCB officials booked tickets and boarded the cruise, Ship Cordelia, disguised as passengers. They waited till the time those on board allegedly started using narcotics and caught them red-handed. The captain of the ship was then asked to take the cruise back to the international cruise terminal at Ballard Pier in south Mumbai. Those held were taken to the NCB office nearby.
What is the status of the drugs case against Aryan Khan, others?
Currently, NCB officials have detained eight persons including Aryan Khan, son of actor Shah Rukh Khan. An FIR has been registered in the case and NCB officials have said they will conduct blood tests and check the luggage of some of those detained.
What drugs were found on the cruise ship?
As per NCB, they have found cocaine, mephedrone, MDMA and ecstasy from the cruise ship. They are yet to determine the quantity of the drugs seized, which will determine the sections that could be invoked in the case.
How were the drugs smuggled on board?
Based on the investigation so far, some passengers got special pockets sewn to their clothes to allegedly evade security checks and smuggle the drugs aboard. One of those held allegedly hid the drugs in the heel of his shoe, a source said.
Who is responsible for security?
The passenger entry for cruise ships is through the Green Gate at Ballard Pier. The security at the gates is manned by the CISF and Bombay Port Trust.
Executives of Waterways Leisure Tourism, which owns Cordelia, cannot carry out searches on passengers and it was the responsibility of the security forces to check passengers before being allowed onto the ship.
A “welcome’ brief that was sent to passengers detailing the program on the ship and the dos and don’ts also stated that narcotics are not allowed aboard.
Are ships licensed to hold events and parties on board?
Cruise ships must get a licence for their operations.
Director-General of Shipping Amitabh Kumar told the Indian Express that Cordelia did not have a licence.
“This cruise ship Cordelia is not licensed under the Merchant Shipping Act. The operators had applied for the licence. There were some deficiencies and the licence was not given,” he said.
On being asked whether the ship was operating without a licence, Jurgen Bailom, CEO of Cordelia and President of Waterways Leisure Tourism Pvt Ltd, responded with this statement: “By means of this statement, I wish to express that Cordelia Cruises is in no way, directly or indirectly, connected to this incident. Cordelia Cruises had chartered its ship for a private event to a Delhi-based event management company.
Cordelia Cruises is extremely mindful of providing wholesome entertainment to families who choose to travel with us. This incident is contrarian and far from the culture that Cordelia Cruises represents. We, at Cordelia Cruises, condemn all acts such as these and will strictly refrain from letting our ship out for similar events in the future. Nonetheless, Cordelia Cruises is extending our full support and cooperating with the authorities.”
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