Khanna’s father says one-sided coverage has tarnished his son’s image
The family of Virender Khanna (aka ‘Viren’), who was recently arrested in the ongoing Sandalwood drug case, has spoken out to correct and/or clarify some of the recent statements reported in the media.
At a presser on Sunday, Viren’s father Sri Ram Khanna sought to clear misconceptions about his son and to deny the allegations reported in the media. Alongside, he contacted thebengalurulive to present the family’s side of the story since, as he put it, several local media outlets were presenting a one-sided picture which was tarnishing his son’s image.
“My son is a law-abiding event organizer 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’s Delhi School of Economics
According to Khanna and other members of Viren’s family, as well as close associates, several statements reported in the press are incorrect or need clarification.
● Viren did not organize parties after or during the Covid-19 lockdown. “Viren organized his last event in Bengaluru 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.
● Viren did not supply drugs to attendees of his events nor did he encourage or condone drug-taking behavior at the events he promoted. Viren’s company VKP collaborated with well-established hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs as a service provider which created experiences to serve its clientele. VKP offered its services 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 licences to serve alcoholic drinks, which is the only intoxicant served at these parties. Also, the establishments provided security with standing instructions to evict any person suspected of possession or consumption of drugs. None of these events was hosted at farmhouses or unlicensed or private premises.
● Viren did not flee from the 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 account, 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 Bengaluru 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 September 6, 2020. This was two days before the actual search of the premises took place on September 8. 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’ is therefore patently false.
● 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 Bengaluru. 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 Bengaluru. VKP organized 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 September 3, 2020. On September 8, the shared apartment he rents in Bengaluru was searched while both his parents were present. The search lasted 12 hours and no drugs were recovered from Viren’s room. The police claimed to have recovered six grams of tobacco from the room occupied by Viren’s room-mate, a French national who was not present during the search. The business of event promotion undertaken by Viren has had 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.