Cordelia Drugs Case: Sameer Wankhede Alleges Ex-Boss, Gyaneshwar Singh Of Torturing Witnesses To Implicate Him

Cordelia Drugs Case: Sameer Wankhede Alleges Ex-Boss, Gyaneshwar Singh Of Torturing Witnesses To Implicate Him

In a surrejoinder affidavit filed by Wankhede before the high court, he has submitted three audio clips, currently in the custody of the CBI, in which conversations reveal how Singh allegedly tortured witnesses.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, June 27, 2023, 12:17 PM IST
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Sameer Wankhede alleges ex-boss, Gyaneshwar Singh of torturing witnesses to implicate him |

The blame game between IRS officer and former Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) zonal director Sameer Wankhede and his former senior Gyaneshwar Singh, based on whose complaint the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered an alleged corruption and extortion FIR against the former, has intensified, with Wankhede accusing Singh of threatening and torturing people to implicate him.

Wankhede came into the limelight after arresting actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan in an alleged drug bust case on the cruise ship Cordelia Cruises in October 2021. He has approached the Bombay high court seeking quashing of the FIR registered against him by the CBI.

The affidavit

In a surrejoinder affidavit filed by Wankhede before the high court, he has submitted three audio clips, currently in the custody of the CBI, in which conversations reveal how Singh allegedly tortured witnesses and how one of the witnesses, Viral Rajan, purportedly told him as early as October 2022 that Shah Rukh Khan had revealed that a Delhi team would be re-investigating the entire Cordelia drug case.

Wankhede has alleged that Gyaneshwar Singh had threatened and tortured his family friend, Viral Rajan, from whom Wankhede’s wife, Kranti Redkar, had purchased expensive watches. The Wankhedes had vacationed with Rajan’s family in the Maldives.

His affidavit alleges that Gyaneshwar Singh threatened with abusive language, physically constrained and forced Rajan to implicate Wankhede. “However, when Mr Viral Rajan refused to do so, he was threatened with harm to his life and limb. A fake medical test was undertaken taken of Mr Viral Rajan, his nails were picked and a medical blood test has been done, which has been manipulated to threaten and pressurise him. Further, Mr Viral Rajan was also illegally detained in a lock-up to exert pressure to implicate me. Mr Viral Rajan was also threatened with the falsifying and tarnishing of his image in front of the media,” read Wankhede’s affidavit.

The IRS officer has further claimed that Rajan informed him on October 2, 2022, that actor Shah Rukh Khan had told him that a special Delhi team would re-investigate the entire Cordelia episode. This shows that the investigation initiated by the CBI, based on the NCB’s complaint approved by Singh, was with the ‘intention of vendetta’, in ‘retaliation’ for the complaint filed by Wankhede with the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes in September 2022 and to please Shah Rukh Khan.

Wankhede has also alleged that witnesses who were questioned during the inquiry were also threatened to make false statements. He has attached the transcript of the recording of a witness, Vijay Pratap Singh, who is also named as an accused by the NCB's special enquiry team (SET) from Delhi, wherein he has said that he (Vijay Pratap Singh) accompanied prime witness Samville D’Souza and that D’Souza was beaten up to give ‘false testimony’, to name Wankhede.

“Samville D’Souza was a crucial person in the entire investigation conducted by the SET and the manner in which the witnesses were being questioned about me by means of coercion, threat and physical attack makes it evident how the entire enquiry and Mr Gyaneshwar Singh has been against me with mala fide intentions,” adds Wankhede’s affidavit.

Interestingly, Wankhede has submitted a transcript of the recording with one of the defence advocates, where he has said how his client was forced by the Delhi SET to give a statement that no recovery was made in the drug bust case registered by the IRS officer.

The press note

Wankhede has also reproduced the press note issued by the Gyaneshwar Singh, on behalf of the NCB on October 6, 2021, after the raid on the Cordelia and justified the action. Singh had then observed that the “seizure memos were drawn as per the provisions established by the law” and had named the independent witnesses, including Kiran Gosavi, who clicked a selfie with Aryan Khan.

The press note, Wankhede observes, had specifically mentioned that a total of 17 persons, including a foreigner, were arrested. “Various drugs like Ecstasy, Mephedrone, Hydroponic Weed @ Multi strain Cannabis & Charas etc have been recovered, including few commercial quantities of drugs, which is a serious concern. Continuous drug recoveries in the follow-up operations indicate towards the large network in this drug menace spoiling the younger generation. Investigation of the case is in progress to unearth the entire chain and network,” Singh’s press note had said.

Justifying Aryan Khan’s arrest, Wankhede has claimed that in all, there were five officers who conducted the seizures, including Ashish Rajan. The SET is focused on Ashish Rajan, since he recovered contraband from Aryan’s friend, Arbaaz Merchant, who was allegedly carrying charas for the actor’s son.

Wankhede has refuted the allegations made by Prabhakar Sail, Kiran Gosavi’s bodyguard, that a deal was brokered between Shah Rukh Khan and an NCB officer, to pay money for not arresting Aryan. Accordingly, Shah Rukh Khan’s manager Pooja Dadlani had paid Rs 50 lakh, which was collected by Sail. Sail’s statement is based on “hearsay evidence and does not give any direct evidence against me,” Wankhede’s affidavit says.

The IRS officer has said that his chats with his senior officer show that the charges which were allegedly ''thrust'' on him regarding the "selective arrest of Aryan Khan” was raised by the SET and the same is pending before the Central Administrative Tribunal." In the said chats, it becomes clear that the arrest (of Aryan Khan) was made in consultation with four superior officers, including the DG (Director General), DDG (Deputy Director general) and also the learned public prosecutor,” Wankhede has said in his affidavit.

Further, the affidavit reads: “Surprisingly, the stand of Mr Gyaneshwar Singh changed completely when he became the SET chairperson, to investigate the complaint and allegations against me, violating the basic principles of law, thereby being a judge in his own actions and covering up his own tracks and his own commissions and omissions at the cost of making false, frivolous and baseless allegations on me.”

Regarding the chats with Shah Rukh Khan, Wankhede said that by no means would any father have discussed such topics, including ethics, integrity, and national service with a person who has extorted money from him, Wankhede has said. "It is only a figment of imagination and of malice and personal vendetta of Mr Gyaneshwar Singh against me, which led to such ill-conceived conclusion to misguide the CBI and register a false FIR against me,” it adds.

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