Mumbai: Director-producer Karan Johar has quashed the news reports claiming that narcotics were consumed at one of the parties organised at the filmmaker's home, calling the allegations false and baseless.
On Friday, Johar shared a lengthy statement on Instagram saying that neither he consumes narcotics nor does he encourage people to use any such substance.
The filmmaker's response came after an old video from a star-studded July 2019 party at his residence resurfaced on social media, amid Narcotics Control Bureau's (NCB) drugs probe in connection with actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death.
In the clip, first posted by Johar on Instagram last year, actors Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora, Vicky Kaushal, Shahid Kapoor among others can be seen partying together. It is being alleged that drugs were consumed by several top Bollywood celebrities at this party.
In a Twitter post, Siromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa claimed that NCB is set to summon Johar soon in the drug-related case.
"Certain news channels, print/ electronic media and social media platform(s) are wrongly and misleadingly reporting that narcotics were consumed at a party that I, Karan Johar hosted on July 28, 2019 at my residence. I had already clarified my position way back in 2019 that the allegations were false," Johar said in the statement.
Calling it a "malicious campaign", the filmmaker reiterated that the allegations are completely false and baseless.
"No narcotics substance were consumed at the party. I would like to unequivocally once again state that I do not consume Narcotics and I do not promote or encourage consumption of any such substance," he added.
The director said such "slanderous" statements and news articles have subjected him, his family, colleagues, and banner Dharma Productions, to "hatred, contempt and ridicule".
On Friday, NCB had questioned Dharma Productions' executive producer Kshitij Ravi Prasad and Anubhav Chopra in relation with the drug-nexus in the Hindi film industry. But according to Johar he doesn't know any of them personally.
The filmmaker said Prasad joined Dharmatic Entertainment, sister concern of Dharma Productions, in November 2019 as one of the executive producers on contract basis for a project, which eventually did not materialise.
Johar added that Chopra was briefly associated with his banner as an assistant director and worked only on two projects.
"He was briefly associated with us for only two months in the capacity of 2nd assistant director for a film, between November 2011 and January 2012 and as assistant director for the short film in January 2013. He has thereafter never been associated with Dharma Productions for any other project," the director said.
Johar said in the past few days media has resorted to distasteful, distorted and false allegations, and if the baseless claims continue to malign his image he wouldn't be left with any other option but to legally protect his rights.
"I hope the members of the media would exercise restraint else I will be left with no option but to legally protect my rights against this baseless attack on me," he said.
Meanwhile, Padukone, who attended Johar's 2019 house party, and Shraddha Kapoor reached the NCB office on Saturday morning in south Mumbai to record their statement in drugs probe linked to film star Sushant Singh Rajput's death.
Actor Sara Ali Khan is also set to appear before the probe agency on Saturday.
The NCB, which began the probe after a drugs angle came to light in connection with Rajput's alleged suicide, has now widened its investigation and called film celebrities for questioning.
Rajput, 34, was found dead in his Bandra apartment on June 14. His death has sparked a lot of controversy in the media and the case is currently being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the NCB.
His girlfriend, actor Rhea Chakraborty, who has been accused of abetting Rajput's suicide by his family, has been arrested in the drugs case linked to his death.