Officials took my signatures on blank papers, says 2nd NCB witness in drugs case

Shekhar Kamble is the second NCB witness in three days to have alleged that agency officials made him sign blank papers that were later used to draw up the panchnama of the search and the seizures.
Mumbai: a new NCB witness, Shekhar Kamble has said he was called to NCB office in Mumbai a few days after a raid on August 26, in which he was an independent witness, and told to sign at least 10 blank papers. (PTI)
Mumbai: a new NCB witness, Shekhar Kamble has said he was called to NCB office in Mumbai a few days after a raid on August 26, in which he was an independent witness, and told to sign at least 10 blank papers. (PTI)
Updated on Oct 27, 2021 08:12 PM IST
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MUMBAI: An independent witness in a raid conducted by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on August 26 came forward on Wednesday to claim that he too was made to sign several blank papers by officers of the federal drug enforcement agency. Shekhar Kamble, a Navi Mumbai resident, is the second witness in a drugs seizure case to level the allegation after Prabhakar Sail, a witness in the drugs case filed by the agency in which the son of actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, was arrested earlier this month.

Shekhar Kamble said the signed blank documents were used by the NCB to draw up the panchnama, the document in which citizens, who are not part of the investigating agency, sign off as independent witnesses on the details of the search operation, items found at the particular location or from an individual along with statements of the persons concerned.

Kamble said he was an independent witness in a case registered by NCB on August 26 when agency officials conducted raids in Kharghar and arrested Nigerian national Kingsley Ukwueza. The agency claimed to have seized 55 grams of Mephedrone (commercial quantity) and a small quantity of ganja in the raid.

“I was present at the time of raid with NCB officials and one Nigerian managed to flee away while NCB nabbed another. I am not aware if they (NCB officials) have recovered any drugs from him,” said Kamble, a Navi Mumbai resident.

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“Three days later one NCB official, Anil Mane, called me and asked me to come to NCB office in south Mumbai where I was made to sign at least 10 blank papers which were later used as panchnama,” he added.

Kamble said he came stepped forward after he learnt that the anonymous letter sent to the chief minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik also mentioned the Kharghar case. “I got scared and meanwhile I got a call from Anil Mane on Tuesday night, instructing me to not speak about the episode with anyone. NCB officer Ashish Ranjan is investigating the case,” said Kamble.

Shekhar Kamble said he approached the Kopar Khairane police station in Navi Mumbai to seek police protection.

NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede denied Shekhar Kamble’s claim. “I completely deny this and I will appropriately reply in the court”.

An internal inquiry was ordered by NCB after Prabhakar Sail’s allegations came to light. Sail, also claimed that his former boss, private detective KP Gosavi whose role has come under scrutiny, and who is currently on the run, and NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede, were part of an attempt to secure a 25 crore payoff to let Khan go.

Maharashtra minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik on Tuesday cited a letter purportedly written by an unnamed NCB employee alleging that Wankhede framed innocent people in 26 fake drug cases. He also claimed Wankhede engaged two private persons to tap phones of the people to frame them. The letter claims NCB allegedly planted drugs shown to have been seized in some of the cases.

Malik has also alleged that the day Aryan Khan was arrested, NCB detained many others in connection with the same case but those linked to a Bharatiya Janata Party leader were released. NCB has insisted it detained around 14 people and released six while the remaining eight, including Aryan Khan, were arrested.

Malik has also accused Wankhede of framing his son-in-law and two others in a drug peddling case in January and delaying the process for their bail. He said NCB showed 200 kg herbal tobacco as ganja and produced photographs of seizures taken at its office.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Manish Pathak is part of Hindustan Times’ nationwide network of correspondents that brings news, analysis and information to its readers.

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Friday, January 28, 2022