Key witness in Mumbai cruise ship drugs raid case appears before Crime Branch
A key witness in the Mumbai cruise ship drugs raid case, Prabhakar Sail, whose startling claims gave a twist to the high-profile investigation, appeared before the crime branch officials in Mumbai on Monday morning and met the joint commissioner of police Milind Bharambe.
Sail was hired as a personal bodyguard by private investigator KP Gosavi, who allegedly accompanied the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officials to the raid on a cruise ship in Mumbai, is now reportedly absconding.
In an affidavit filed before a local Mumbai court on Sunday, Sail claimed he heard Gosavi speak about a pay-off of ₹8 crore to NCB’s Mumbai-based zonal director Sameer Wankhede in the drugs raid case involving Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan. The top NCB officer, however, denied the allegations.
However, Wankhede wrote to Mumbai police commissioner Hemant Nagrale on Sunday, seeking protection from any legal action being planned against him by unknown persons to “falsely frame him.”
Saying that he fears for his life, Sail wrote in his affidavit, “KP Gosavi is missing now and I now fear that NCB officials and other persons involved may kill me or abduct me.”
In his affidavit, Sail also claimed to have overheard Gosavi and one Sam D'Souza trying to settle the cruise ship drugs seizure case allegedly for ₹18 crore.
Sail also claimed that when he was called to the NCB office as an witness in the case, an officer took his signatures on “10 blank papers” on the instruction of Wankhede.
Soon after Sail's signed revealations surfaced, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut shared a video of Aryan Khan talking to Gosavi in NCB custody, and urged the police to take suo moto cognisance of the allegations of demand for money.
NCP leader and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik accused the NCB of conducting “bogus raids” and said he would seek a probe by a special investigation team into the allegations.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress's chief spokesperson Atul Londhe claimed that the NDA government at the Centre has been misusing the central agencies against non-BJP governments and their leaders.
“The statement by Prabhakar Sail has reestablished it. The central agencies were used in Sushant Singh Rajput's case for political gain and now being used in Aryan Khan case too for politics. We urge the judiciary to take a suo motu cognisance of the entire episode for the sake of Constitution as these cases have posed a challenge to democracy,” Londhe was quoted as saying.
Following the raid on the Goa-bound Cordelia cruise ship off Mumbai coast, Aryan Khan was arrested on October 3 and was sent to judicial custody on October 7. So far all his bail pleas have been rejected even though he was not found with any drugs.
Along with Khan, at least eight people, including Arbaaz Seth Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha, were detained late by NCB officials.