Cruise ship drug raids: NCB gets two months' extension to file chargesheet
Mumbai, March 31, 2022
A Special NDPS Court here granted two months' extension to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to file the chargesheet in the sensational raids aboard the Cordelia cruise ship in which Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood mega-star Shah Rukh Khan, and other celebrities are accused, here on Thursday.
Special NDPS Judge V. V. Patil accepted the plea by the Special Public Prosecutor Advait Sethna that there were certain compelling reasons for seeking extra time to file the chargesheet.
These include non-cooperation by the accused in revealing their passwords, the need to record afresh the statement of a "witness" K. P. Gosavi, who is himself accused of corruption and cheating and currently in custody of Pune Police, and time to record the statements of 15 suspects.
Sethna further argued that since the NCB application has been filed within the 180-day period after the raids, the accused (two, who remain in custody) would not be entitled to default bail even if the order came later.
It may be recalled that on October 2, 2021, the NCB sleuths led by the then Mumbai Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede had swooped on the Cordelia Cruise ship off Mumbai harbour and detained over half a dozen persons, including Aryan Khan and other celebrities.
Later, on October 3, the NCB arrested Aryan Khan though nothing was recovered from him, his friends Arbaaz Merchant, Munmun Dhamecha, and another 17 persons including guests and drug peddlers were also nabbed (total -- 20).
Four weeks later, on October 28, the Bombay High Court granted bail to Aryan Khan observing that there was no prima facie evidence to show that he and Merchant had conspired to commit offences under the NDPS Act.
Subsequently, Minister Nawab Malik -- arrested by the ED in February -- had made a serial expose questioning the alleged fake raids which he said were intended to seek publicity and extort money. He also ran a huge campaign against then Narcotics Control Bureau Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede.
The NCB was further embarrassed when a witness Prabhakar Sail made stunning allegations of extortion and pay-offs involving another "witness" Kiran Gosavi, alleged Bharatiya Janata Party activist who present during the raids.
Following these developments, the case was taken over by a NCB Delhi's Special Investigation Team in NCB Delhi, which is currently probing it.