The Centre has asked the competent authority to initiate “appropriate action” against IRS officer Sameer Wankhede (on right in picture above), who initially investigated the Cordelia cruise drugs case in which Aryan Khan, son of Shah Rukh Khan, was arrested, for his “shoddy” probe, particularly against Aryan. The Centre’s request has come after Aryan Khan was given a clean chit by the Narcotics Control Bureau. It may be reiterated that Aryan Khan has not been named in the chargesheet which was filed by the NCB on May 27 in the court of special judge for NDPS cases.

The NCB told the NDPS court on May 27 that no drugs had been recovered from Aryan Khan, and there was no concrete evidence to show his role in conspiracy with other accused Arbaaz Merchant. The NCB also told the court that Arbaaz never said that the 6 gm. charts recovered from him was meant for Aryan’s consumption. On November 6, 2021, Arbaaz said, he was warned by Aryan to not carry drugs on the cruise. The NCB admitted that in his statement, Aryan never accepted that the recovered charas was meant for him. Besides, no phone chat connects him with the drugs case, according to the NCB now.

The NCB had told the sessions court in October 2021 that Aryan and Arbaaz travelled together with “common intent”. In its remand application seeking Aryan’s custody on October 4, the NCB said, it had found Aryan’s links with international drug trafficking chain via mobile chats, photographs, etc. The NCB also told the sessions court that in voluntary statements, Aryan and Arbaaz had disclosed that they were carrying drugs for their consumption.

It may be mentioned here that Aryan Khan spent 27 days in custody. He had been denied bail twice. In an internal report, the NCB’s Special Investigation Team (which was constituted to investigate the case with effect from November 6, 2021, 35 days after the raid on the Cordelia cruise which was about to leave the Bombay port for Goa) has faulted the investigation process in the drugs case, saying that Aryan Khan’s cell phone was “voluntarily handed over by him” but it “was not followed by formal seizure procedure”. The report added, “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 formally seizing the mobile phone of Aryan.”