There were several irregularities in the investigation into the alleged seizure of drugs on a cruise ship following which actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan was arrested last year, the vigilance department of the Narcotics Control Bureau’s inquiry has found, PTI reported on Tuesday.
A Special Investigation Team had been set up to to look into allegations of impropriety in the case by officers of the anti-drug agency. The statements of 65 persons have been included in the 3,000-page internal vigilance report submitted to Narcotics Control Bureau Director General Satya Narayan Pradhan a few weeks ago.
Aryan Khan was arrested on October 2, 2021, along with his friend Arbaaz Merchant, model Munmum Dhamecha and five others by the Narcotics Control Bureau after a raid on a cruise ship off the coast of Mumbai.
During the raid, the agency claimed to have seized 13 grams of cocaine, five grams of mephedrone, 21 grams of charas, 22 pills of MDMA (ecstasy) and Rs 1.3 lakh from the ship.
On October 28, 2021, the Bombay High Court had granted bail to Aryan Khan, Merchant and Dhamecha, observing that there was no evidence of a conspiracy among them. The court order said that Khan did not have any drugs on him during the raid, even as the Narcotics Control Bureau claimed that he had been found in “conscious possession” of contraband substances.
In its report, the Special Investigation Team has flagged “departmental and vigilance issues” against seven to eight officers of the Narcotics Control Bureau, The Indian Express reported. Some of them are no longer working with the agency.
The inquiry also revealed that “selective treatment” was meted out when naming some persons as accused in the case. The report has recommended “stringent punishment” against some officials.
“Questions were also raised about the intention of the officers involved in the investigation and some people were found to have changed their statements many times,” an unidentified official told PTI.
On May 27, the Narcotics Control Bureau had cleared Aryan Khan of charges in the case as it did not find corroborative evidence against him.
The inquiry in the case was led by Indian Revenue Service officer Sameer Wankhede, who was the Mumbai zonal director of the anti-drugs bureau when the raid was conducted.
In May, he was transferred to the Directorate General of Taxpayer Services in Chennai. He was accused of not conducting a medical test on Aryan Khan to find out if he had consumed drugs. Wankhede did not carry out videography of the raid on the cruise ship either.