Edu-tech giant BYJU’s has halted its association and pulled all advertisements featuring Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan with immediate effect following his son Aryan Khan’s arrest last Saturday (October 2) by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) when it conducted a drug bust on Cordelia cruise ship. According to a report in Economic Times, Byju’s stopped all ads over the last few days for which it had made bookings in advance after the company came under fire on social media platforms like Twitter.
Reportedly, Shahrukh was being paid a hefty amount of Rs 3-4 crore annually by the IPO bound company to endorse the brand since 2017. ‘Byju’s’ is a Bangalore-based company founded in 2008 by Divya Gokulnath and Byju Raveendran. Through its ‘Byju’s learning app’, which was launched in 2015, the company has taken the EduTech environment in India by storm.
Currently, the tech behemoth has 42 million registered users and 3 million paid subscribers. Students are spending 71 minutes on the app daily and the annual renewal rates are pegged at 85 per cent. Shahrukh had practically been the face of the company when it started its aggressive marketing campaign.
However, with the brand growing exponentially in the last few years, eclipsing Shahrukh’s popularity, it wouldn’t be the wrong time for BYJU’s to completely sever its ties with the Bollywood star and find a new brand ambassador.
Aryan and the drug saga
On the night of second October 2021, NCB raided a cruise ship which was termed as a musical voyage by the organizers. Fashion TV India and a Delhi-based company called Namascray Experience were the main organisers of the event.
The event included around 100 people and the ticket for the same costed Rs 80,000 each. The ‘Musical voyage’ was planned to be a 3-day event starting from Mumbai and destined to reach Goa. However, things did not go according to the plan, and NCB raided the cruise ship on Saturday night.
Along with Aryan, two accomplices, Arbaz Merchant, and Munmun Dhamecha were arrested and booked for the consumption, sale, and purchase of contraband under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.
#WATCH | Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) yesterday
detained at least 10 persons during a raid conducted at a party being held on a cruise in Mumbai
(Earlier visuals from outside NCB office) pic.twitter.com/c0OctLI1jk
— ANI (@ANI) October 2, 2021
Moreover, the remand application submitted in the court stated that the NCB had found WhatsApp chats “clearly showing the nexus of those arrested with suppliers and peddlers on a regular basis”. Chats of Aryan Khan revealed that he and his friend had discussed illegal drugs on more than one occasion.
After the initial remand, Aryan’s lawyers filed a bail petition but a Mumbai court on Friday (October 8) rejected his plea, on grounds of “maintainability”, upholding the contentions of the legal team of the NCB.