Maharashtra government may seek probe into charges against NCB’s Wankhede

Maharashtra government may seek probe into charges against NCB's Wankhede thumbnail

The Maharashtra government may ask the state police to investigate NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede, after the NCB’s own panch witness alleged that Wankhede was trying to extort money from Shahrukh Khan whose son Aryan Khan was arrested by the NCB in a controversial drug raid.

Prabhakar Sail, one of the main panch witness in the cruise ship drug seizure case, claimed in a signed affidavit that money was extorted from Shahrukh Khan after his son’s arrest. Sail has claimed that he had heard another panch witness, Kiran Gosavi, speaking on the phone to demand Rs 25 crore from the actor out of which Rs 8 crore were to be paid to Wankhede and that Rs 38 lakh of this money was already paid to Gosavi. Sail is seen making the same statements in a video, though who shot the video is not yet known. Sail also claimed in his affidavit that the NCB officials took his signature as the panch on empty papers and he feared for his life.

Sail is supposed to be the body guard of Gosavi. In another embarrassment, another video has come out which shows that Gosavi is seen having Aryan Khan speak to someone on a cell phone while in NCB custody.

Immediately after the video and the affidavit of Sail became viral, NCP minister Nawab Malik said that he would be meeting chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and home minister Dilip Walse Patil asking for an SIT to be formed to probe Sail’s allegations. “I have already been saying that there is an extortion racket happening in the state under the guise of investigation by the NCB. They (NCB officials) have extorted 1,000s of crores by filing such fake cases. Their own panch witness who they themselves have named as main witness has come forward talking about this. There needs to be a probe.”

Malik found support from Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut who said that there should be a probe into the issue. “Malik has been raising questions for several days now and he has not been speaking in the air, the entire state cabinet should stand beside him. Evidence has started coming out in the case from the panch witness himself; they talk about wheeling and dealing happening. The state should probe the issue.” said Raut.

The NCB did not address the allegations made by Sail. However, in a press release issued by the deputy director general of the NCB, Mukta Jain, stated, ” An affidavit by Mr Prabhakar Sail, a witness in crime no 94,2021 of Mumbai zonal unit of the NCB has come to my notice through social media… As he is a witness in the case and as the case is before the honorable High Court and sub-judice, he needs to submit his prayer to the honorable High Court rather than social media if he has to say anything.”

It added, “In addition, there are certain vigilance related allegations against certain persons in the affidavit which are based on the over hearing of Mr Prabhakar. Our Zonal Director Mumbai Zonal Unit, has categorically denied these allegations. As some of the contents of the affidavit relate to vigilance matters, Iam hereby forwarding the affidavit to the Director General Narcotics Control Bureau and requesting him for further necessary action.”

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