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NCB Gives Clean Chit to Aryan Khan, Five Others in a Drugs Case

by Raju Vernekar
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By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, May 29: 

The Narcotics Control Bureau(NCB) which filed a charge sheet in a Mumbai court in connection with last year’s ‘drugs-on- Cordelia cruise” case, gave a clean chit to Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, on Friday.
The NCB did not name Aryan and five others due to a ‘lack of sufficient evidence’ in its charge sheet. They were arrested in October last and Aryan had spent 26 days in jail before he was granted bail by the Bombay High Court. After the arrest on October 02,2021, he was finally out of jail on October 30,2021.
In a statement, the NCB said that Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Deputy Director General (Operations) Sanjay Kumar Singh, carried out its probe in an objective manner and the touchstone of the principle of proof beyond reasonable doubt was applied.
“Based on the investigation by the SIT, a complaint against 14 persons under various sections of the NDPS Act is being filed and the complaint against rest six persons is not being filed due to lack of sufficient evidence”.
All eight persons- Vikrant, Ishmeet, Arbaaz, Ayan, Gomit, Nupur, Mohak, and Munmun
were arrested by the NCB’s Mumbai zonal office on October 02, 2021, from the international cruise terminal, located in South Mumbai. The vessel was operated by a company called Cordelia. All the accused were found in possession of narcotics except Aryan (Khan) and Mohak (Jaiswal),” the NCB said.
The NCB submitted its charge sheet before the registry and the special NDPS court, which will take cognizance after verification of the documents. The agency was granted a 60-day extension to file the charge sheet by the court, which ended on Friday.
Arrests in the case were made by the NCB’s former Mumbai zonal Director Sameer Wankhede and his team. But on November 06, 2021, the NCB headquarters removed Wankhede from the probe and the case was transferred to a Delhi-based SIT under DDG (Operations) Sanjay Singh following a huge political controversy.
According to the officials, the key findings of the SIT included that Aryan Khan was never in possession of drugs. Hence, there was no need to take his phone and check his chats. The chats did not suggest Khan was part of any international syndicate.
Director-General of NCB SN Pradhan  said that our officers investigated the case and collected evidence, which could physically be corroborated. Digital devices, contents on them, and other circumstantial evidence need to be physically proved in court. Since no such evidence was found, the agency decided to drop the names of six accused persons from the charge sheet. However this charge sheet is not the finality of the case; if investigators find additional evidence during the trial, they may file a supplementary charge sheet.
The DG also said that there were procedural irregularities in the initial probe and therefore, the SIT was formed. The raid on the yacht was not video-recorded as mandated and the drugs recovered from multiple accused arrested in the case were shown as single recovery, which was a procedural lapse. A separate vigilance inquiry about the case is continuing and lapses on the part of any official if found would be dealt with firmly by the department, he said.
Speaking to the “Imphal Times”, Lawyer Satish Maneshinde, who represented Aryan Khan in the case, said his client’s arrest and 26-day custody were unjustified particularly when drugs were not found in his possession. “…there was no evidence of any kind. There was no material of any nature of the violation of any law much less the NDPS Act. We are happy that the SIT objectively investigated the case and decided not to file a charge-sheet against Aryan Khan for lack of sufficient evidence.”
Wankhede had led a raid on the Cordelia cruise ship and his team had seized 13 grams of cocaine, five grams of mephedrone, 21 grams of marijuana, 22 pills of MDMA (Ecstasy), and 1.33 lakh in cash from the vessel. Subsequently Prabhakar Sail, a key NCB witness, had alleged that Wankhede was part of a Rs 25 crore extortion racket targeting Khan. He alleged he was forced to sign sheets of blank paper.
The entire episode had turned into a war of attrition between Wankhede and Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik who had accused Wankhede of falsely implicating people in drug cases and running an extortion racket. Later Malik himself was booked on charges of money laundering in some other case by the enforcement directorate.


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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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