Sameer Wankhede, a former NCB official who was praised as a hero on social media for having the bravery to arrest the son of one of India’s most famous celebrities for a drug case, has now been revealed to be the culprit.
After possibly the most high-profile investigation in the agency’s history turned out to be an embarrassment, the NCB has disowned the IRS officer who was on deputation at the time of the Cordelia Cruises raid.
The SIT constituted in the drugs-on-cruise case may file a report with the Ministry of Home Affairs to assign blame for the investigation’s substandard nature.
The officials who were involved in the investigation will be held accountable in the report.
The SIT discovered significant procedural flaws in the initial team that performed the raid and arrests.
It was discovered that Sameer Wankhede’s team, which was in charge of the NCB’s Mumbai Zone, had failed to conduct the obligatory medical test of the accused, there was no video recording of the raids, and there was no corroborative evidence against WhatsApp talks.
SIT sleuths found the NCB team did many “grave irregularities” and were allegedly just trying to “implicate” Aryan in this case.
“It is strange to note that in spite of clear cut denial by Arbaaz (Merchant) regarding involvement of Aryan in the procurement and possession of drugs from him, the investigating officer started looking at WhatsApp chats of Aryan without even formally seizing his mobile phone,” the report said.
Merchant told the investigating officer that Aryan was aware that he (Merchant) was an infrequent consumer, according to the report. Merchant was also cited as adding that Aryan advised him not to bring any hash on the cruise since NCB was active and they would go into trouble. “In none of his statements Arbaaz Merchant states that drugs recovered was meant for Aryan, or Aryan was involved in any way in procuring the recovered drugs,” the report said.
The SIT also accused the team that raided Cordelia Cruise for making a major mistake by disclosing the WhatsApp discussions to the media before the court hearing.
Wankhede’s actions in the case have been scrutinised since the beginning. But things took a turn for the worse when he was accused of extortion. This was followed by a slew of other charges, including questions about his caste certificate’s legitimacy.
The government has reportedly requested the Competent Authority to take action against Wankhede as a result of the inadequate investigation into the Aryan Khan case.
When asked if any action would be taken against the then Mumbai team headed by Wankhede, NCB director general SN Pradhan told PTI “we cannot immediately jump to accuse the Mumbai unit…they must have had something and to probe this there is another SIT.”