Sameer Wankhede tried to extort Rs 25 crore from Shah Rukh Khan but a selfie foiled his plans


MAY 16, 2023

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a corruption case, on the basis of a vigilance report of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), against former NCB officer Sameer Wankhede. Wankhede had arrested Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan in a drugs case in October 2021.

The CBI has booked Wankhede under Sections 7, 7A, and 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 388 (extortion by threat) of the IPC.

The details of the FIR revealed that Sameer Wankhede was planning to extort Rs 25 crore in the Aryan Khan case. The NCB initiated a vigilance prob against Sameer Wankhede and other officials regarding the Aryan Khan case.

Sources in the vigilance team of the NCB shared some shocking details and the complete inside story with India Today.

Sam D’Souza: Wankhede’s drug peddler-turned-informer   

Sam D’ Souza was arrested by the NCB for peddling LSD. Sameer Wankhede and his team accepted a bribe of Rs 10 Lakh. Sammer Wankhede and VV Singh received this amount, according to the sources.

Later, D’ Souza turned into an informer for Wankhede. His main role was to identify targets for Wankhede who could be framed in drug charges. He was also allegedly used in planting fake drugs.

Wankhede’s ‘Patil’ informer about the cruise party

It was a ‘Patil’, a resident of Gujarat, who informed Wankhede about a “rave party” on the cruise and the high-profile targets who would attend the party. However, the NCB was not aware of the presence of Aryan Khan in the cruise party.

Patil already knew Sam D’Souza and D’ Souza also introduced Manish Bhanushali and Kiren Gosavi to Wankhede and his team when the raid was planned. These two people were tasked to identify high-profile targets for the NCB team.

Initially, the NCB had 27 people on its target, but the number was slashed down to 10 when Shahrukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan was spotted on the cruise with his friends.

Aryan Khan was among the 10 high-profile targets

Aryan Khan was arrested from the cruise and his cellphone was also seized by the NCB team to ensure that he didn’t call anyone. Aryan was also accompanied by his four friends, but only Arbaaz Merchant was allegedly carrying drugs, according to the sources.

Incidentally, three other friends of Aryan Khan had drug chats on their mobile phones, but only Aryan Khan was selectively arrested.

Arbaaz in his statement also testified that Aryan Khan did not consume the drugs and also stopped others from consuming them.

Later, extortion demands were initiated from Aryan Khan’s family on the night of May 2-3 with Wankhede’s knowledge and permission.

“Papa mei NCB custody mei hoon, plz help me”: SOS message from Aryan Khan’s phone

Aryan Khan was wrongly informed that Kiran Gosavi was an NCB officer and Gosavi recorded Aryan’s audio message in the NCB office.

A truncated clip of that audio message “Papa mei NCB custody mei hon, plz help me” and a photo of Kiran Gosavi with Aryan Khan was selected by Wankhede and his team to send to Pooja Dadlani, Shahrukh Khan’s manager, to initiate the extortion negotiations.

Rs28 crore came down to Rs18 Crore after negotiations

Sameer Wankhede and his team would have been successful had the photo of Kiran Gosavi with Ayan Khan not gone viral. According to sources, Pooja Dadlani met Kiran Gosavo on the night of May 2-3 and brought down the demand from Rs 28 crore to Rs18 crore after negotiations.

She also handed over Rs 50 lakh in cash to Kiran Gosavi as a token amount. But, the entire deal got derailed as the photo of Aryan Khan with Kiran Gosavi went viral with the information that Gosavi was not an NCB officer.

Vigilance inquiry revealed the story

Aryan Khan was arrested by the NCB and produced before a court. But, Aryan’s phone was not seized during his arrest, revealed the NCB inquiry and the possibility of Aryan’s arrest for extortion by team Wankhede was also flagged.

Later, Gosavi met Dadlani and refunded Rs 38 lakh from the token amount and refused to pay the remaining Rs 12 lakh as it had already reached Wankhede, Gosavi told Dadlani.

CCTV tampered with before the vigilance probe

According to NCB sources, the CCTV was working at the NCB office when Aryan Khan was arrested and seen with Gosavi in the NCB office in Mumbai but was tampered with by the Wankhede’s team. The NCB vigilance team later found out the DVR was also detached from the CCTV camera at the NCB office in Mumbai.

NCB sources also informed India Today that Gosavi was in touch with Shah Rukh’s manager Dadlani via Facetime and was also passing every update to Wankhede through another social media app simultaneously.

NCB officers had also formatted their cellphones before handing them to the NCB vigilance team to ensure that every piece of evidence was deleted from the phone, sources further revealed.

The NCB had shared its vigilance report with the Union Home Ministry and the CBI registered its case against team Wankhede on the basis of this vigilance report.

Sameer Wankhede hit the headlines after arresting Aryan Khan on October 2, 2021, during a raid on Cordelia Cruise.

Timeline of Aryan Khan Case at a glance

Oct 2, 2021: The NCB arrests Aryan Khan from the Cordelia Cruise ship going from Mumbai to Goa during a raid. The NCB arrests Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and eight others.

Oct 3, 2021: The NCB registers a case against Aryan Khan, Munmun Dhamecha and Arbaaz Merchant. They are sent to one-day custody by the magistrate.

Oct 4, 2021: Aryan Khan and others again produced before the court. The NCB claims that Aryan had a drug chat on his mobile and is connected with an international drug racket. Magistrate extends the custody to October 7.

Oct 7, 2021: Magistrate refuses further custody and sends the accused to judicial custody.

Oct 9, 2021: The NCB accepts that no drugs were recovered from Aryan Khan during his bail plea hearing in Mumbai’s session court.

Oct 20, 2121: Special NDPS court rejects the bail plea of Aryan Khan and others. He then approaches the Bombay High Court.

Oct 28, 2021: The Bombay HC grants bail to Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha.

May 27, 2022: The NCB gives clean chit to Aryan Khan. Aryan Khan’s name is not included in the chargesheet. NCB DG SN Pradhan accepts discrepancies in the investigation conducted by Sameer Wankhede. The government initiates a probe against Wankhede.

NCB chargesheet does not name Aryan Khan, Gopal G, and Bhaskar Arora. Chargesheet names 14 others.

Courtesy/Source: TOI / PTI