The Narcotics Control Bureau on Monday ordered a vigilance inquiry into allegations of foul play by its officials in the Mumbai cruise ship drugs case, PTI reported. Aryan Khan, the son of actor Shah Rukh Khan, is one of the accused in the case.
On Sunday, Prabhakar Sail, a witness in the case, had claimed that he had overheard private investigator Kiran Gosavi talk about a Rs 18-crore deal, of which Rs 8 crore was to be paid to the anti-drug agency’s zonal head Sameer Wankhede. Sail also claimed that soon after Aryan Khan’s arrest, he was made to sign on 10 sheets of blank paper at the Narcotics Control Bureau office.
Sail is the bodyguard of Gosavi, who was seen in a selfie with Aryan Khan inside the anti-drug agency’s office. Gosavi, also a witness in the case has gone missing, Sail claimed in an affidavit on Sunday.
On Monday, the Narcotics Control Bureau Deputy Director General of northern region, Gyaneshwar Singh, said that the agency has received Sail’s affidavit. The inquiry was ordered after Narcotics Control Bureau director general took cognisance of a report on the matter submitted by the agency’s deputy director general of northwest region.
Singh, who is also the chief vigilance officer of the Narcotics Control Bureau, will conduct the inquiry, PTI reported.
“We are a professional organisation and we are open for inquiry against any allegation against our staffers,” Singh told PTI. “The inquiry will be transparent and fair.”
Asked if Wankhede will continue to investigate the cruise ship case while the inquiry is underway, Singh said that the question was “premature”.
“We will take a call as the inquiry progresses and evidences are gathered,” he added.
Earlier on Monday, the Narcotics Control Bureau and Wankhede moved a Mumbai court seeking directions to prevent attempts to create hurdles in the investigation of the case.
In its affidavit, the central agency said that Sail’s claims prove that he had turned hostile as a witness. It also claimed that some people were using their influence to tamper with the investigation.
On Sunday evening, Wankhede had written to Mumbai Police chief Hemant Nagrale requesting him to ensure that no legal action is carried out “to frame him with ulterior motives”. In a letter, he had said that some “public functionaries have” threatened him of imprisonment and dismissal from his job.
The drugs case
Aryan Khan and seven others were arrested by the central agency after a raid on a cruise party off the coast of Mumbai on October 2.
The agency said it had seized 13 grams of cocaine, 5 grams of mephedrone, 21 grams of charas, 22 pills of MDMA (ecstasy) and Rs 1.3 lakh from the ship.
Khan is in custody after a special court in Mumbai denied him bail on October 20. He has approached the Bombay High Court for bail.
Khan’s lawyers have repeatedly argued in courts that no drugs were found in his possession.
However, on October 20, judge VV Patil of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances court had rejected this argument. He said that Khan knew that co-accused Arbaaz Merchant was carrying narcotic substances in his shoes at the party. Patil said that this amounted to “conscious possession”.