No evidence Aryan Khan was part of larger narcotics conspiracy: NCB’s Special Investigation Team

Actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan is finally seen getting a clean chit in the cruise drugs case. After months of investigation, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) stated that no evidence has been found against Aryan Khan to prove that he was part of a larger conspiracy or an international drug smuggling syndicate.

In fact contrary to the allegations of the unit of NCB Mumbai, the SIT (Special Investigation Team) has shared with Hindustan Times some of the findings of its investigation which states that Aryan Khan was not in possession of any drugs.

The investigation team says that Aryan Khan’s chat does not reveal that he was part of any international syndicate, besides irregularities were committed during the raid on the cruise. No video-recording was done during the raid as mandated by the NCB manual. The SIT seems to have questioned the logic of the investigation and the conduct of Sameer Wankhede, former director of the agency’s Mumbai regional unit, in the raids. Wankhede has been sent back to his parent cadre and has been questioned several times by both the SIT and the agency’s vigilance team to ascertain the truth in the case.

However, the investigation by the SIT to ensure everything is not complete and it may take a few months for the Director General of NCB SN Pradhan to submit his final report. An official said a legal opinion would be taken before the final decision, which would look into the aspect whether Khan can be charged for taking drugs even though he is not taking any drugs.

Wankhede led a team of officers and some vehicles to raid the Cordelia, a cruise ship, at the International Cruise Terminal at Mumbai’s Green Gate on the night of 2 October last year. The NCB had seized 13 grams of cocaine, five grams of mephedrone, 21 grams of marijuana, 22 pills of MDMA (Ecstasy) and ₹1.33 lakh in cash from the cruise ship. After which gradually the names of 17 people were revealed in this case.

Significantly, the preliminary findings of the SIT investigation corroborate the observations of the Bombay High Court, which had granted bail to Khan on October 28 last year, stating “there is not much evidence to suggest any conspiracy or recovery of drugs from Aryan Khan”.

According to the SIT report, after the raid, the Wankhede team had claimed that the accused were part of a larger conspiracy, considering the WhatsApp chat as the biggest evidence. He had alleged that Aryan Khan was in touch with some foreign drug peddlers and the chat was produced in the court as evidence, which mentioned about hard drugs and bulk quantity.

However, dismissing the claims of the NCB, a single bench of Justice Nitin W Sambre of the Bombay High Court had observed that the NCB did not have sufficient evidence to prove any conspiracy. The judge had remarked that Aryan Khan and his friend Arbaaz Merchant and model Munmun Dhamecha were on the ship just because they cannot be said to be part of a drugs racket.

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