"No officer or officers have been REMOVED from their present roles"
Sameer Wankhede, of India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), has been replaced in the Aryan Khan case which he was heading.
It comes after the NCB Zonal Director is alleged to have demanded Rs. 8 Crore (£775,000) in exchange for Khan’s jail release.
A man named Prabhakar Raghoji Sail made the accusations against him.
Sail is the personal bodyguard of KP Gosavi, who is one of nine independent witnesses and believed to be a private investigator.
His selfie with Khan previously went viral.
In an affidavit, Sail claimed that he was in a car one evening when he heard Gosavi speak to a man named Sam D’Souza about a deal.
It read: “Till such time we reached Lower Parel KP Gosavi was talking to Sam on the phone and stated that you put a bomb (exaggerated demand) of Rs. 25 Crores (£2.4 million) and let’s settle at 18 final because we have to give Rs 8 Crores (£775,000) to Sameer Wankhede.”
Gosavi, D’Souza and Shah Rukh Khan’s manager Pooja Dadlani then had a 15-minute meeting inside a car, the bodyguard added.
Sail claimed he had collected two bags of cash from people in a white vehicle at the nearby Trident Hotel in Mumbai.
He then delivered this to D’Souza and when counted, the total amounted to Rs. 38 Lakh (£38,000).
The bodyguard decided to file the affidavit as Gosavi had gone missing and he feared for his own life.
A lookout notice had been issued for his employer who was sent to police custody until Monday, November 11, 2o21.
Aryan Khan was among those arrested after a party on a Cordelia Cruises ship was targeted in a midnight raid by the NCB.
Various substances including cocaine, MDMA and Mephedrone are all believed to have been consumed aboard the ship.
However, it was later confirmed that Khan himself did not have any drugs in his possession.
Sail said he was near the boarding area of the cruise ship on Saturday, October 2, 2021.
He claimed he was asked to identify some of those boarding and was sent a series of photographs on WhatsApp to help with this.
In the affidavit, he said: “At about 10:30 pm I was called [by] KP Gosavi in the boarding area and I saw Aryan Khan in one of the cabins at the cruise boarding area.
“I saw one girl, Munmun Dhamecha, and a few others with NCB officials.”
The bodyguard alleged he was asked by Gosavi and Wankhede to sign some blank papers at the NCB’s office after the arrests.
Wankhede has strongly denied the claims against him and the NCB and previously said:
“We will give a fitting reply.”
The NCB confirmed that he is no longer heading the ongoing Aryan Khan case along with five others in a statement.
They said they were cases with “which have national and international ramifications” and the move had been made “in order to conduct deeper investigation to find out forward and backward linkages”.
They added: “No officer or officers have been REMOVED from their present roles and they will continue to assist the Operations Branch investigation as required until any specific orders are issued to the contrary.”
Wankhede is also currently is facing a departmental vigilance probe with Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik also levelling allegations against him.
The Aryan Khan case will now be led by Deputy Director General Sanjay Kumar Singh.
Aryan Khan was summoned to appear before the NCB on Sunday, November 7, 2021, but skipped this, citing ‘health reasons’.