A witness of the Narcotics Control Bureau in the cruise ship case – in which Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan is arrested – has made claims of payoffs to agency officer Sameer Wankhede. Mr Wankhede has told the Mumbai police that he is being framed.
Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:
- In an affidavit, Prabhakar Sail, who claims to be a personal bodyguard to KP Gosavi, claimed he heard a conversation between him and one Sam D’Souza on October 3 about a Rs 18 crore deal. KP Gosavi, the alleged private investigator who has gone missing, said they will have to give Rs 8 crore to Sameer Wankhede, Mr Sail said.
- That evening, KP Gosavi, Sam D’Souza and Pooja Dadlani, megastar Shah Rukh Khan’s manager, had a 15-minute meeting inside a car, read the affidavit by Prabhakar Sail, who is one of the nine witnesses the NCB named in the case.
- Prabhakar Sail also said following KP Gosavi’s instructions, he received two bags of cash and handed them to Sam D’Souza. The bags contained Rs 38 lakh, he said.
- In the affidavit, Prabhakar Sail also said he was present at the cruise ship’s boarding area, and was asked to identify some of the people boarding. After the anti-drugs agency took them to its office, he was made to sign some blank papers.
- Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has asked the police to “take cognizance” of the affidavit. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s remark that the case was meant to malign the Maharashtra government, appears to be coming true, he said. Mr Raut also tweeted a new video, apparently from inside the NCB office, where KP Gosavi and Aryan Khan are seen sitting together. Aryan Khan is seen speaking into a phone held by Gosavi.
- NCB zonal director Sameer Wangkhede has written to the Mumbai Police chief complaining about “precipitate legal action” to “frame” him. “It has also brought to your notice that threats of jail and dismissal have been issued against the undersigned on public media by highly respectable public functionaries,” the letter added.
- The reference is seen as being to Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik, who has spoken of the officer losing his job. “They (BJP) have a puppet – Wankhede. He raises bogus cases against people. I challenge that Wankhede that he’ll lose his job within a year… We have evidence of bogus cases,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
- NCB sources said Prabhakar Sail’s allegations were made “just to malign the (agency’s) image”. The agency said in a statement that Prabhakar Sail being a witness in a case which is sub judice, has to “submit his prayer to the Honourable court rather than through social media”. His affidavit has been forwarded to the Director General Narcotics Control Bureau “for further necessary action”.
- KP Gosavi, allegedly a private investigator, was apparently present during the cruise ship raid and later at the NCB office with Aryan Khan. His selfie with Aryan Khan had gone viral. While the NCB claimed he is an independent witness, his presence at the two places has raised questions about the investigation.
- Aryan Khan is yet to receive bail in the case. No drugs were found on him. The agency has told the court that his WhatsApp chats indicate he was in touch with an international cartel carrying on the drugs trade.