What the CBI FIR says about Sameer Wankhede of Aryan Khan case

Posted By: Shweta Khandal

Posted On: May 16, 2023


According to the recent First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Sameer Wankhede, the former zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), had allowed KP Gosavi, an independent witness, to operate with a “free hand” during the proceedings against Aryan Khan, son of actor Shah Rukh Khan. The intention was to create the false impression that Gosavi was an NCB officer. The FIR, which was made public on Monday, also implicates former SP Vishwa Vijay Singh, NCB intelligence officer Ashish Ranjan, and two private individuals—Gosavi and his associate Sanvile D’Souza—as accused parties.

The report further reveals that Wankhede’s team altered the original raid information report, failed to document the search of individuals, and even permitted certain suspects to go free. The CBI states that Wankhede, in his supervisory role, directed the involvement of Gosavi and Prabhakar Sail as independent witnesses, allowing Gosavi to handle the accused and create the visual impression of having custody over them. The aim of these actions was to extort ₹25 crore from Khan’s family in exchange for not framing his son. The settlement amount was eventually reduced to ₹18 crore, and although Gosavi initially accepted ₹50 lakh, a portion of that sum was later returned.

Wankhede, an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer who has since been transferred from the NCB, led a team that conducted a raid on the Cordelia ship at the International Cruise Terminal off the Mumbai coast on October 2, 2021. The raid allegedly resulted in the seizure of 13 grams of cocaine, 5 grams of mephedrone, 21 grams of marijuana, 22 pills of MDMA (ecstasy), and ₹1.33 lakh in cash. A total of 14 individuals were detained and, following extensive interrogation, Aryan Khan (24), Arbaaz Merchant (26), and Munmum Dhamecha (28) were arrested on October 3. Subsequently, the agency arrested 17 more people in connection with the raid.

Aryan Khan was later cleared of any wrongdoing by a special inquiry team (SET) of the NCB in May 2022. An internal vigilance inquiry was conducted against Wankhede and others, which served as the basis for the CBI FIR. The SET’s investigation revealed that the accused individuals, including Aryan, were transported to the NCB office in a private vehicle belonging to independent witness KP Gosavi. This arrangement intentionally created the impression that Gosavi was an NCB personnel, even though actual NCB personnel were present to handle the custody of the accused.

Moreover, Gosavi was allowed to enter the NCB office after the raid, a violation of the norms for an independent witness. This allowed Gosavi to take liberties, such as taking selfies and recording a voice note of an accused individual. The CBI claims that Gosavi and others used this position to conspire and extort ₹25 crore from Aryan Khan’s family by threatening to accuse them of narcotics possession offenses.

Regarding the raid itself, the SET discovered that certain suspects’ names were initially excluded from the information note (I-Note), and the names of other accused individuals were subsequently added through modifications to suit the proceedings. The original I-Note contained 27 names, while the modified version included only 10 names.

The FIR also mentions that many other individuals on the Cordelia were searched, but these searches were not documented. Additionally, a few suspected persons were allowed to leave without any documentation.

Further investigations revealed allegations of criminal misconduct and corrupt practices against Wankhede and Ashish Ranjan

independently. These allegations raise concerns about the acquired assets of Wankhede and Ranjan, as they appear to exceed their declared income.

The vigilance branch of the NCB has also noted discrepancies in Wankhede’s foreign visits. He has not provided a satisfactory explanation for these trips and has allegedly misreported the expenditure associated with them. Furthermore, Wankhede has failed to properly disclose the sources of funding for his foreign visits.

In addition to these issues, it has come to light that Wankhede engaged in the sale and purchase of high-end wristwatches with a private entity named Viral Ranjan. The concerning aspect is that he failed to inform either the NCB or his parent cadre, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, about these transactions.

These revelations paint a picture of alleged misconduct, manipulation of evidence, and extortion within the NCB. The FIR filed by the CBI reflects the gravity of the situation and the need for a thorough investigation into the actions of Sameer Wankhede, Vishwa Vijay Singh, Ashish Ranjan, KP Gosavi, and Sanvile D’Souza. The charges against them encompass a wide range of offenses, including impersonation, corruption, conspiracy, and the violation of established procedures.

As the case unfolds, it is crucial to ensure a fair and impartial investigation that upholds the principles of justice. The public’s trust in law enforcement agencies rests on their ability to maintain integrity and transparency. The outcome of this investigation will have far-reaching implications, not only for those directly involved but also for the credibility of the NCB and the criminal justice system as a whole.

It is imperative that the legal process moves forward diligently, allowing all parties involved to present their arguments and evidence. Only through a thorough examination of the facts can justice be served and the truth be revealed. The investigation will undoubtedly shed light on the alleged wrongdoings and determine the appropriate course of action to restore public trust and uphold the principles of law and order.

As this high-profile case continues to unfold, the public awaits further developments with great anticipation. The pursuit of truth and justice must remain paramount, ensuring that accountability is upheld and that such incidents are thoroughly addressed to prevent any compromise in the administration of justice in the future.

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