Aryan Khan’s WhatsApp chats were checked without formally seizing his phone: NCB chargesheet
New Delhi, May 28: The government has asked the Finance Ministry to take action against former NCB officer Sameer Wankhede for his alleged "shoddy work" while probing a 'drugs-on-cruise' case in which film star Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan was arrested last year, official sources said.
Appropriate action is also being initiated against Wankhede for allegedly providing a fake caste certificate, they added.
Aryan Khan was given a clean chit by the Narcotics Control Bureau in the October 2021 'drugs-on-cruise' case on Friday.
Wankhede is an Indian Revenue Service officer and the finance ministry is the nodal authority to take the action against him.
The government has asked the competent authority to take appropriate action against Wankhede for his alleged shoddy investigation in the 'drugs-on-cruise' case, sources said.
The NCB has cited procedural lapses in the case while dropping charges against Aryan Khan. The NCB further said that when the officials led by Wankhede reached the international drug cruise terminal, they saw Aryan Khan and Arbaaz Merchantt entering the terminal. Both of them were arrested in October.
Further Merchantt told the NCB that he had carried charas for his personal consumption despite Aryan Khan telling him not to do so.
Merchantt had maintained that he was told by Khan not to carry the drugs. His first statement too indicated the same. In second statement he said that Khan was aware that he was a consumer and that is why he had told him not to carry drugs to the cruise. I was warned by Khan that the NCB was very active and we could land in trouble, Merchantt also told the NCB.
The NCB in its chargesheet said that it appears that its official Ashish Prasad had stated looking at Aryan Khan's WhatsApp chats without seizing the mobile formula. It appears that Prasad was motivated to somehow implicate Khan in the drugs case, the chargesheet also said.
, "Courts in general are very lenient with persons from whom drug is not recovered and against whom there is no cogent evidence. It may be relevant to mention here that courts sometimes cast aspersion on the motives of investigating officers if courts believe that the investigating officer Prasad was motivated," the chargesheet also said.
"In the panchnama that was drawn after the search and seizure at the Cruise Terminal it has been mentioned that the mobile phone of Aryan Khan was voluntarily handed over by him to the Investigating officer. It is to be noted that that such handing over was not followed by formal seizure procedure as laid down in the law, it further added.
"Investigation has further disclosed that data extraction of Aryan's mobile was done and it contained various WhatsApp chats with different people alluding to consumption of weed, hashish, etc. Witnesses and accused were asked to join the investigation based on the contents of WhatsApp chat, treating them as if contents of Whatsapp chats are primary source of evidence," it said.
"Therefore, our excessive reliance on WhatsApp messages will be severely counterproductive during trial of the case, considering the fact that the integrity of data extracted from Aryan's phone is questionable as there is no seizure memo for Aryan's phone to show how and when his phone was seized," it also said.