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Graft charge against NCB in Aryan Khan drugs case, agency refutes allegations

Aryan Khan, accused in a drug bust case, is taken from NCB office to the Killa court in Mumbai on October 7, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

In a twist in the Aryan Khan drug racket case, a witness has alleged that he was made to sign on blank papers by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) authorities and that he reportedly overheard of an alleged pay-off of ₹8 crore to the NCB’s Mumbai zonal director, Sameer Wankhede. However, the NCB has refuted all the allegations.

These revelations were made in a notarised affidavit by one Prabhakar Raghoji Sail (40), who claimed that he had worked as a bodyguard for K.P. Gosavi, allegedly the ‘private investigator’ whose selfie with Aryan Khan, son of actor Shah Rukh Khan, went viral after the young Khan was reportedly taken into the NCB custody after the drug bust on October 2.

Mr. Sail’s video in which he recounted his revelations made in the affidavit went viral on Sunday.

In the affidavit, Mr. Sail claimed that Mr. Wankhede had instructed a member of his staff “to take his signature on 10 blank papers” on the intervening night of October 3-4 (a day after the alleged cruise drug bust on October 2).

The witness said that after this, he allegedly overheard Mr. Gosavi speaking with a certain Sam D’Souza and tell the latter: “You put a ‘bomb’ of ₹25 crore, let’s settle for ₹18 crore and give ₹8 crore to Sameer Wankhede.”

Also read: Visit to Shah Rukh Khan’s house not a raid, says NCB

Mr. Sail claimed that he has seen Pooja Dadlani (Mr. Shah Rukh Khan’s manager) talking with Mr. Gosavi and Mr. D’Souza and later he was instructed by Mr. Gosavi to go to a particular location to collect ₹50 lakh cash, which was delivered to him in two bags. He then handed over the same to Mr. Gosavi at the latter’s home in Vashi.

Mr. Sail recounted that he was later directed by Mr. Gosavi to hand over the bags to Mr. D’Souza, and that the latter had called him [Mr. Sail] near a five-star hotel as the rendezvous point. Mr. Sail handed over the bags to Mr. D’Souza and claimed in his affidavit that when the latter counted, it amounted to ₹38 lakh.

The witness said he feared a threat to his life as Mr. Gosavi had allegedly gone missing.

“I fear that NCB officials and other persons involved may kill or abduct me like Gosavi. As seen in big cases, witnesses are often killed or taken away and therefore I want to state the truth.” Mr. Sail said in his affidavit.

NCB issues notice

The NCB released a notice stating that Mr. Wankhede had refuted all of Mr. Sail’s allegations.

 

“An affidavit by Mr. Prabhakar Sail, a witness in crime number 94/2021 of MUMBAI ZONAL UNIT of NCB has come to my notice through social media. In the said affidavit, Mr. Prabhakar has given details about his movements and activities on 2nd of October 2021, the day above crime was registered. As he is a witness in the case and as the case is before the honourable court and sub-judice, he needs to submit his prayer to the honourable court rather than through social media if he has anything to say. In addition, there are certain vigilance related allegations against certain persons in the affidavit which are based on overhearing by Mr. Prabhakar. Our zonal director, Mumbai Zonal Unit, Mr. Sameer Wankhede has categorically denied these allegations,” reads the NCB notice.

Raut demands probe

Dubbing Mr. Sail’s allegations shocking, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut alleged that there was a concerted attempt to defame Maharashtra using the Central agencies and that the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi Government must conduct a suo motu probe into the entire affair.

Mr. Raut, the Sena’s chief spokesperson, shared a purported video detailing Aryan apparently in the NCB custody with Mr. Gosavi, while tweeting: “Witness in Aryan Khan case made to sign on blank paper by NCB is shocking. Also there are reports that there was demand of huge money. CM Uddhav Thackeray said that these cases are made two defame Maharashtra. Police should take suo motu cognizance.”

In the video, Aryan can be seen with Mr. Gosavi, saying something into what appears to be Mr. Gosavi’s phone.

“After the unfortunate death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, the NCB has been suddenly very active in Mumbai and treating the city akin to Pakistan and Afghanistan where drugs are found and grown in abundance. There is a concerted attempt by the agency to defame Mumbai’s cinema industry which is the pride of the city … it appears that some parties are trying to take the film industry away from Mumbai,” said the Sena leader, in a thinly veiled rebuke at the BJP.

Mr. Raut said cases of a highly suspicious nature were being lodged against the Bollywood fraternity and that whoever questioned the dubious nature of investigations were being dubbed ‘brand ambassadors of Pakistan’.

Mr. Raut said (NCP leader) Nawab Malik, who was a responsible person, was being targeted (by the BJP) just because “he was a Muslim”.

“For the last few days, Mr. Malik, with concrete proof, has been consistently raising questions against the NCB’s investigations … Proof is emerging against the NCB’s probe and the dubious character of the authorities ‘probing’ these cases. Mr. Malik’s allegations against the NCB are not mere shots in the dark. In fact, the entire State Cabinet ought to have stood behind him. Chief Minister Thackeray had said earlier that some people have taken kickbacks to defame Maharashtra. This has now been proved,” Mr. Raut said, commenting on Mr. Sail’s alleged ‘expose’ of the NCB.

Mr. Raut urged a judiciary probe into the matter to find out under whose pressure the NCB was working to “defame Maharashtra”.

Targeting the BJP-ruled Centre, the Sena MP said the State Government was not afraid of its “misuse” of the Central agencies.

‘Very serious’

Meanwhile, commenting on Mr. Sail’s video and his confessions, Mr. Malik said: “This is very serious. I have been consistently saying that Sameer Wankhede has been lodging false cases and creating an atmosphere of fear in Bollywood. The Chief Minister and the State Home Minister must take cognisance and form a Special Investigative Team to get to the bottom of the case.”


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 7:15:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cruise-drugs-case-witness-alleges-ncb-official-demanded-25-cr-from-shah-rukh-khan-to-release-his-son-agency-denies-claim/article37149845.ece

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