A special NDPS court on Monday said it couldn't bar courts from taking cognizance of an affidavit filed by Prabhakar Sail, a witness in cruise ship drugs case, in which he made allegations of a bid to extort Rs 18 crores from Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan for the release of his son Aryan who is an accused in this case.
Special NDPS judge VV Patil said this court could not pass such "blanket orders" and allowed the anti-drug agency to approach appropriate courts for suitable directions. The court's order came on a plea filed by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and its Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede earlier today seeking directions to prevent attempts to scuttle the ongoing probe in the Aryan Khan's drug case.
The court's order comes a day before Khan's bail appeal will be heard by the Bombay High Court. Judge Patil on October 20 had denied Aryan Khan bail on the grounds that prima facie his WhatsApp chats showed his role
The Aryan Khan Drugs case took a significant turn on Sunday when Sail, also a bodyguard of the independent witness KP Gosavi, made public a detailed affidavit outlining discrepancies in the drug probe. A day later, on Monday Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik allegedly questioned Wankhede's integrity and his role in the case.
Even as Wankhede issued a press release hitting back at Malik's insinuations, the anti-drug agency has initiated a probe against the zonal director and the allegations made against him.
BOOM outlines the significant developments that have taken place since Sunday.
Allegations of Extortion an attempt to scuttle probe: Wankhede to Court
The anti-drug agency on Monday moved court saying Prabhakar Sail's assertions were an attempt to undermine the probe in the cruise ship drugs case which has seen some high-profile arrests including Bollywood Superstar Shahrukh Khan and his wife Gauri's son Aryan.
Aryan Khan's friends Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha have also been arrested even as Ananya Pandey, a friend and Bollywood star Chunkey Pandey's daughter, was also called in for questioning.
NCB junked Sail's allegations and said they were completely false, mischievous, and misleading with a malicious attempt to malign and tarnish the image of an independent agency like the NCB. "The allegations of alleged extortion against NCB officials and money changing hands is a clear attempt to undermine the ongoing investigation and create pressure with mala fide and ulterior motive," the application said.
Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Advait Sethna, representing the anti-drug agency, said if cognizance of Sail's affidavit was taken, it would prove to be an impediment to the case including the bail hearing which is slated for tomorrow before the Bombay High Court.
"He (Wankhede) is used to such backlash…but in this manner? Through an affidavit that is not even filed anywhere?" Sethna had added.
Wankhede had annexed a two-page affidavit with NCB's plea in an attempt to clear his name. In the affidavit, Wankhede undertook to place material on record to show how he is threatened with arrest and that he would be "dispelled from his service".
"I am open for any kind of investigation or inquiry. I have 15 years of record. But such allegations only to target my personal life and work is not done," Wankhede told the court today. "I am under a lurking threat of arrest as it does not suit the vested interest of some just for conducting an honest and impartial investigation," He added.
Earlier today, Malik had tweeted a copy of Wankhede's birth certificate where the father's name was allegedly recorded as Dawood K Wankhede.
Rs 18 crores demanded from Shahrukh to scuttle probe against Aryan: Prabhakar Sail
Prabhakar Sail on Sunday released a notarized affidavit alleging that Wankhede forced him to sign 10 blank sheets of paper and submit a soft copy of his Aadhar card. Sail said on October 2 after Aryan Khan was arrested, his employer Gosavi called him and directed him to become a witness in the case.
Sail said he overheard Gosavi speaking with a Sam D'Souza and asking him "put a bomb of Rs 25 crore" and settle at Rs 18 crore since Wankhede's cut was Rs 8 crore. Sail was referring to an alleged attempt to extort Shahrukh Khan, through the star's manager Pooja Dadlani for money in order to scuttle the probe against Aryan.
Sail also expressed fear for his life since his employer KP Gosavi, an NCB's independent witness in this case, had gone missing at the time.
According to news reports, KP Gosavi has since resurfaced and expressed his intent to turn himself over to the police following threats to his life. Gosavi has also confirmed the alleged attempts to extort money from Shahrukh Khan through the star's manager Pooja Dadlani.
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