NCB's special probe team had ulterior motive of giving Aryan Khan clean chit in drugs case: Wankhede tells HC
The NCB's Special Enquiry Team (SET) had an ulterior motive of giving a clean chit to Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan in a drugs-on-cruise case and suppressed material evidence against him, the anti-drug agency's former Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede submitted to the Bombay High Court on Thursday. Wankhede, whose interim protection from arrest in the CBI's case of extortion and bribery against him was on Thursday extended by the HC till June 23, in his rejoinder affidavit claimed the SET has ''twisted facts and labelled false allegations to jeopardise the career and character of honest officials''.
The affidavit also claimed the SET sought to give a clean chit to Aryan Khan by suppressing material information and evidences in violation of legal provisions.
Wankhede filed the rejoinder affidavit in his petition seeking to quash the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) case registered against him on charges of extortion and bribery.
The CBI's case is that Wankhede and four other accused had demanded Rs 25 crore bribe from actor Shah Rukh Khan for not framing his son Aryan following alleged seizure of drugs from a cruise ship.
The central agency lodged the FIR against Wankhede and others last month on the basis of a written complaint issued to them by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
A division bench of Justices A S Gadkari and S G Dige on Thursday posted Wankhede's petition for hearing on June 23.
The HC also extended till then the earlier order of the court granting interim protection to Wankhede from arrest in the case.
The NCB had constituted the SET to conduct a probe into the alleged irregularities committed by Wankhede in the Cordelia cruise drugs seizure case in which Aryan Khan was arrested in October 2021.
''The entire endeavour 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,'' Wankhede claimed.
The rejoinder also alleged the SET report was biased and prepared just to ''wreak vengeance'' on Wankhede as his superior Gyaneshwar Singh, the deputy director general of NCB, had personal vendetta against him.
Wankhede claimed that in August 2022, he lodged a complaint against Singh for committing ''serious caste-based atrocities''.
Justifying the selfie clicked by an independent witness in the drugs case with Aryan Khan, Wankhede in his affidavit said due to Aryan's celebrity status many persons wanted to click photographs with him.
The affidavit claimed the selfie taken by witness K P Gosavi with Aryan Khan was done without the NCB's consent.
Wankhede's counsel Aabad Ponda on Thursday told the bench that as per the court's earlier direction, the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer appeared before the CBI for interrogation seven times and has been cooperating.
CBI's advocate Kuldeep Patil told the court that the investigation in the case was at a crucial stage.
The bench said it would hear Wankhede's plea on June 23.
''Interim relief granted stands extended till the next date,'' the high court said.
Wankhede moved the HC last month seeking to quash the case and also sought interim protection from any coercive action against him. A vacation bench of the HC had then granted Wankhede interim protection from arrest till June 8 and directed him to cooperate with the investigation.
The CBI in its affidavit filed last week sought for the protection to be recalled, saying it had a prima facie case against Wankhede. IRS officer Wankhede and the other accused in the case have been booked on charges of criminal conspiracy and extortion threats under the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act pertaining to bribery.
Aryan Khan and several others were arrested in October 2021 for alleged possession, consumption and trafficking of drugs. Later, Aryan Khan was granted bail by the high court after spending three weeks in jail.
The NCB subsequently filed its chargesheet, but did not name Aryan as an accused in the case citing lack of evidence.
The anti-drugs agency had then set up the SET to carry out an inquiry into the case and against its own officers.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)