Bengaluru drug scandal: My son is innocent, his reputation has been destroyed
New Delhi, Sep 23: The Central Crime Branch earlier this month arrested Bengaluru's celebrity party planner, Viren Khanna in connection with a drug case that also involved actor Ragini Dwivedi. He was arrested in Delhi and brought back to Bengaluru.
The family of Virender Khanna a.k.a Viren has now decided to speak out to clarify some of the recent facts reported in the media. Viren's father Professor Sri Ram Khanna told OneIndia that his son is a law-abiding event organiser who has envisioned a drug-free party culture for Bengaluru.
We deny all accusations as baseless," stated Khanna, who is a retired former professor at the University of Delhi, Delhi School of Economics.
According to Khanna and other members of Viren's family and close associates, several things reported in the press coverage of the case were incorrect or need clarification, including:
Viren did not organise parties after or during the Covid-19 lockdown. "Viren organised his last event in Bangalore in March 2020 before the lockdown and all the events promoted by him were hosted at establishments that were in compliance with the legal and police regulations after procuring licenses and permissions from all requisite authorities" said Khanna.
- Viren did not supply drugs to attendees of his events nor did he encourage or condone drug-taking behaviour at the events he promoted. Viren's company VKP collaborated with well-established hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs as a service provider who created experiences to serve their clientele. VKP offered its service for a fee to promote these establishments in the hospitality industry to audiences who were interested in music, food, drink, and dancing. The fees received by VKP were subject to GST payments for which regular GST returns were filed. Invariably, all the establishments which used their services had excise licenses to serve alcoholic drinks, which is the only intoxicant served at these parties. Also, establishments provided security with standing instructions to evict any person suspicious of possession or consumption of drugs. None of these events were hosted at Farmhouses or unlicensed or private premises.
- Viren did not flee from authorities. Actually, he was traveling by train to visit family members, bringing along two pets, and he published the details of this trip on his social media including the specific location of his travel.
- Viren did not have clothing designed for the purpose of impersonating a police officer. The police costume found during a search of Viren's shared apartment in Bangalore is the same costume Viren has worn many times over the years, including at the annual VKP Halloween party. Pictures of which are available in the public domain for everyone to see.
- The CCTVs installed in the rented shared accommodation were installed by Viren's family on 06 September 2020. This was two days before the actual search of the premises took place on the 08 September. This was meant to keep a record of any attempted planting of contraband by police during the search. The use of CCTVs as alleged in a section of the media regarding "honey trapping" are therefore patently false.
Here is what is true:
- Viren is a computer engineer from RV College. He quit his salaried job at Accenture to pursue his dream and set up a start-up in events. He's among tens of thousands of students who come from all parts of India to get a professional degree in Bangalore. Many find jobs in the city and make it their home. He was one of them.
Viren started his company VKP in 2007, which grew by connecting young professionals in Bangalore. VKP organised over 500 events across Bengaluru (45+ venues) in association with corporate partners with over 6 lakh guests and 60+ artists in the last 13 years.
Viren comes from an upper middle-class family in New Delhi, a home where he was born and an ancestral property of his family. In Bangalore, Viren lives in a shared rented accommodation.
Viren has fully cooperated with the police in the investigation since 3rd of September 2020. On 8thof September, the shared apartment he rents in Bangalore was searched while both of his parents were present. The search lasted 12 hours and no drugs were recovered from Viren's room. Police claimed to have recovered six grams of tobacco from the room occupied by Viren's roommate, a French national who was not present during the search.
The business of event promotion undertaken by Virender Khanna has a big role in making Bengaluru a cosmopolitan city attracting thousands of young men and women from all parts of India and abroad to make this city their home. A large number of local professionals and expatriates regularly attend such events, making the city a great place to live, Professor Khanna also said.
My son's reputation has been destroyed:
Professor Khanna said that these events have destroyed the reputation of his son. The police is selectively leaking information to the media.
He further said that there are several rival party organisers in the city. There are a number of competitive party organisers. The rivalry is intense. Every party needs permission and this can be denied or delayed depending on which rival is lobbying more. I do feel that rivalry could be the reason.
The Kannada media is lapping up everything that the police is saying. This is orchestrated and choreographed by the police. The police will determine who is guilty and this has nothing to do with the reality. As a family of accused we are at great risk, he further added.
His parties are the most successful and most glamours. So they provide a certain kind of glamour. They are not his parties. They are hosted in the bars and hotels. Each one pays their own bill and he is paid a fee. His success has gone to his disadvantage, Professor Khanna pointed out.
Viren has been against and does not promote drugs. He has maintained that drugs should not be consumed in the parties. His parties are the ones where due diligence is done to ensure no drugs are used, Viren's father also said.