Shah Rukh Khan has been Byju's brand ambassador since 2017.

File image of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan waving at peoplePTI
news Controversy Sunday, October 10, 2021 - 09:24

IPO-bound edtech major Byju's has temporarily halted advertisements featuring its brand ambassador and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, as his son Aryan Khan undergoes a drug bust probe by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). Sources told IANS on Saturday that Byju's has stopped all ads featuring Shah Rukh Khan, apparently after social media users criticised the edtech company for endorsing ads featuring the actor, who has been the Byju's brand ambassador since 2017. A spokesperson for Byju's declined to comment on the matter.

Byju's is on an acquisition spree this year. Overall, it has acquired nine businesses in 2021 so far. The edtech giant is also exploring an initial public offering (IPO) which could value the company at around $40 billion-$45 billion.

Shah Rukh Khan has over 42 million followers on Twitter and 26.5 million followers on Facebook-owned Instagram.

The criticism against SRK's advertisements came in the wake of arrests after a high-drama rave party raid on Cordelia Cruise ship during the Mumbai-Goa voyage by the NCB on October 2. In a major setback for Shah Rukh's son Aryan, a Mumbai court on Friday, October 8, rejected his bail plea, and of two others who were among the eight people first arrested in the case.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate RM Nerlikar rejected the bail applications of Aryan, Arbaaz Merchant, and Munmun Dhamecha, on grounds of maintainability, upholding the contentions of the legal team of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). The court said that it does not have jurisdiction to hear cases registered under the NDPS Act. 

After the court refused him bail in a drug seizure case, Aryan was sent to the Arthur Road prison here on Friday. Along with him, five other men arrested in the case too were sent to the same jail, while two women accused including Munmun Dhamecha were sent to Byculla women's prison, a police official said.

They are likely to spend the weekend in quarantine cells of the two prisons as the Sessions Court, where they will need to file an appeal for bail, would not be working on October 9 which is the second Saturday of the month, police sources said. 

On Thursday, the metropolitan magistrate had sent eight accused including Aryan (23) in 14-day judicial custody after their NCB remand ended. Khan and others were brought to the prison after 2.30 pm, officials said.

The Narcotics Control Bureau has arrested 18 persons so far after raiding a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast and allegedly recovering narcotic drugs.

With agency inputs

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