Shah Rukh Khan’s Son Cleared In High-Profile Drugs Case

Indian authorities have dropped a case against the son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan who was arrested during a raid on a cruise ship last year on suspicion of having drugs on him.

India’s main drug law enforcement agency, the Narcotics Control Board (NCB), said on Friday it was dropping the case against Aryan Khan, 24, and five others due to a lack of “sufficient evidence”, while pressing charges against 14 others.

Khan’s arrest had polarised broadcast and social media in the Bollywood-obsessed country, with some saying he was being targeted for being the son of a Muslim celebrity in mainly Hindu India.

A lawyer for Khan told Reuters his client’s detention, which followed the raid on the boat off Mumbai last October, were unjustified and that he had broken no law. Khan was released on bail on Oct. 28 after 26 days in detention.

“We are happy that (an NCB team) investigated the case in an objective manner and decided not to file a complaint against Aryan Khan for lack of sufficient evidence,” his lawyer Satish Maneshinde said. “God is Great.”

World Bank Cuts India, South Asia Growth Forecast On Ukraine Crisis

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the inauguration of the Samsung Electronics smartphone manufacturing facility in Noida, India, July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

NEW DELHI – The World Bank cut its economic growth forecast for India and the whole South Asian region on Wednesday, citing worsening supply bottlenecks and rising inflation risks caused by the Ukraine crisis.

The international lender lowered its growth estimate for India, the region’s largest economy, to 8% from 8.7% for the current fiscal year to March, 2023 and cut by a full percentage point the growth outlook for South Asia, excluding Afghanistan, to 6.6%.

In India, household consumption will be constrained by the incomplete recovery of the labour market from the pandemic and inflationary pressures, the bank said.

“High oil and food prices caused by the war in Ukraine will have a strong negative impact on peoples’ real incomes,” Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for South Asia, said in a statement.

The World Bank raised its growth forecast for Pakistan, the region’s second-largest economy, for the current year ending in June, to 4.3% from 3.4% and kept next year’s growth outlook unchanged at 4%.

The region’s dependence on energy imports meant high crude prices forced its economies to pivot their monetary policies to focus on inflation rather than reviving economic growth after nearly two years of pandemic restrictions.

The World Bank slashed this year’s growth forecast for Maldives to 7.6% from 11%, citing its large imports of fossil fuels and a slump in tourism arrivals from Russia and Ukraine.

It raised crisis-hit Sri Lanka’s 2022 growth forecast to 2.4% from 2.1% but warned the island’s outlook was highly uncertain due to fiscal and external imbalances.

Sri Lanka’s central bank said on Tuesday it had become “challenging and impossible” to repay external debt, as it tries to use its dwindling foreign exchange reserves to import essentials like fuel.

Aditya Birla Fashion To Buy Exclusive Rights To Reebok In India

India’s Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL) said on Tuesday it would buy exclusive rights to sell global sportswear brand Reebok’s products both online and offline in the Indian market. Shares of ABFRL jumped 4.6% to 279 rupees after the announcement.

The deal will be effective once the global ownership of the Reebok brand is transferred from Adidas to Authentic Brands Group under a 2.1 billion euros ($2.37 billion) acquisition announced in August.

Major Indian fashion retailers have gone on a shopping spree for big brands this year, aiming to strengthen their positions in one of the country’s fastest growing segments. ABFRL picked up a 51% stake in luxury wedding wear brand Sabyasachi, while rival Reliance Industries Ltd’s retail unit bought 52% of designer label Ritu Kumar.

ABFRL said the transaction also includes buying certain assets of Reebok India Company, including inventory, current assets and liabilities. It added that the long-term licensing deal gave it exclusive rights to sell Reebok products in India and other Southeast Asian countries.

The company expects to spend around 750 million rupees ($9.88 million) to 1 billion rupees ($13.17 million) to buy Reebok’s inventory and other current assets and liabilities.

ABFRL operates more than 3,000 stores in India and is the exclusive retailer for Forever 21, American Eagle Outfitters and Ralph Lauren branded clothes, among others, in the country.