Former Mumbai zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Sameer Wankhede, has submitted an explosive affidavit to the Bombay High Court, accusing the NCB's Special Enquiry Team (SET) of intentionally suppressing material evidence and having ulterior motives to give a clean chit to Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, in the drugs-on-cruise case. Wankhede claims that the SET twisted facts and leveled false allegations to jeopardize the careers of honest officials involved in the investigation.
In his rejoinder affidavit filed on Thursday, Wankhede stated, "The SET has sought to give a clean chit to Aryan Khan by suppressing material information and evidence, which is in clear violation of legal provisions." He further alleged that the SET's actions were part of a concerted effort to exonerate Aryan Khan, compromising the integrity of the investigation.
The former NCB official filed the rejoinder affidavit as part of his petition seeking to quash the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) case registered against him on charges of extortion and bribery. Wankhede and four other accused were implicated in the case, which alleges that they demanded a bribe of Rs 25 crore from Shah Rukh Khan to prevent the framing of his son, Aryan Khan, following the alleged seizure of drugs from a cruise ship.
Wankhede's affidavit claims that the SET's actions were driven by a hidden agenda to protect Aryan Khan, stating, "The entire endeavor of the SET was to create doubts regarding the Cordelia cruise case in order to meet their ultimate motive of giving Aryan Khan a clean chit." He further alleged that the SET report was biased and prepared with the intention of seeking revenge against him, as his superior officer, Gyaneshwar Singh, had a personal vendetta.
The Bombay High Court has granted interim protection to Wankhede from arrest until June 23, and the case has been scheduled for a hearing on that day. The court also extended the earlier order of interim protection, which was granted to Wankhede to ensure his cooperation with the investigation.
The NCB had formed the SET to conduct an inquiry into alleged irregularities committed by Wankhede in the Cordelia cruise drugs seizure case, which led to the arrest of Aryan Khan in October 2021. However, Wankhede's affidavit challenges the credibility of the SET's findings, alleging that they were manipulated to favor Aryan Khan and create doubts about the case.
(With PTI Inputs)