Aryan Khan may have been purposely targeted: NCB

There are chances that Aryan Khan was wrongfully accused as per the NCB Vigilance probe.

Seven to eight Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) employees, including a senior officer, have irregularities and lapses, and the NCB vigilance committee has recommended action. The NCB vigilance committee began its investigation in response to claims of illegal arrests and extortion in the drugs bust case in which Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan was detained last year.

According to sources, the vigilance committee filed a 3,000-page chargesheet against the seven to eight policemen in August for irregularities in not just the Aryan case but also two to three other cases. The officers include of NCB employees as well as certain deputies and former bureau employees.

Sameer Wankhede, a deputed IRS official, served as the head of the Mumbai NCB throughout the Aryan case. Later, he was returned to his family cadre.

This is a significant setback for the NCB after its own special investigation panel cleared Aryan Khan and five other people in May of this year, citing errors and a dearth of evidence in the investigation. Before being released on bond in the well-known case, Aryan had been imprisoned for nearly a month. According to a source, the vigilance investigation discovered signs of “selective treatment” in the case, suggesting he may have been the target.

The insider declined to comment on whether the investigation turned up any evidence of extortion. There were rumors that the vigilance committee had not discovered any extortion-related material in May. A witness in the case, Prabhakar Sail, said that Wankhede and panch witness Kiran Gosavi were the targets of a Rs 25-crore extortion attempt shortly after Aryan Khan was taken into custody in October 2021.

The report was submitted to the competent authority to take further action. The report has been submitted as per department proceedings and as per the sections of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964. The competent authority will take a call as normally there are two types of actions on irregularities – one, those facing serious charges may be removed from service, and the other is departmental action,” said the insider.

When the NCB SIT cleared Aryan Khan, the Centre had ordered a departmental investigation into Wankhede’s “shoddy” investigation.

According to the sources, the vigilance committee recorded at least 65 deposed witnesses’ testimonies and compared them to their earlier statements. To identify the many irregularities, the committee examined the cases’ evidence, witness testimony, and case files.

On October 3, 2021, the NCB detained Aryan Khan and 15 other people in connection with the Cordelia cruise ship case. Aryan Khan and the other five were later cleared.

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