Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik today said Aryan Khan, the son of Shah Rukh Khan, was kidnapped for ransom and “their game was ruined because of one selfie”. Mr Malik also accused the Narcotics Control Bureau’s Mumbai Zonal director Sameer Wankhede of being part of the kidnapping plot, which he said was hatched by BJP leader Mohit Kamboj. He also said there was a conspiracy to lure people like Aryan Khan onboard the ship and frame them in the drugs case.
The 23-year-old was arrested last month following a raid led by Mr Wankhede on a cruise ship off Mumbai coast, in which drugs were allegedly seized. He was later granted bail by the Bombay High Court.
“It was said in court that Aryan Khan did not buy a ticket and go on a cruise. That he went there because of Pratik Gaba and Amir Furniturewala… I want to say straight off that is a matter of kidnapping and ransom,” Mr Malik said at a press conference this morning.
A “trap was laid” by a relation of BJP leader Mohit Kamboj, Mr Malik said. “Aryan Khan was taken there. And game of kidnap and ransom of 25 crore was started. A deal was made for 18 crore. ₹ 50 lakh was paid. But a selfie ruined the game and this is the truth,” he said.
Though he did not name anyone, the reference was apparently to the selfie of private investigator KP Gosavi with Aryan Khan, which went viral online after the raid.
The minister also named BJP leader Mohit Kamboj as the mastermind in the case and alleged that he was anti-drugs officer Sameer Wankhede’s partner in the extortion racket. He said there was also a plan by the organisers including Kashif Khan to bring state minister Aslam Sheikh and the children of several ministers on the cruise and they were trying to defame the Maharashtra government, “but that did not happen”.
Mr Kamboj, who denied all the allegations, had said earlier this week that a “fake narrative” is being created around the drugs-on-cruise case in which some Maharashtra ministers might be trying to extort money from Shah Rukh Khan.
Mr Malik had called the allegations an “unsuccessful attempt to misguide and divert the attention from the truth” and had said that he would “reveal the truth” on Sunday.
The claims of a ₹ 25 crore demand and an 18 crore deal along with a 50 lakh pay-off was earlier made by a man named as a witness in the case, Prabhakar Sail. The man, who claimed to be a bodyguard of KP Gosavi, had claimed that he heard a conversation between Mr Gosavi and one Sam D’Souza on October 3 about a ₹ 18 crore deal. During it, KP Gosavi had said they will have to give ₹ 8 crore to Sameer Wankhede, Mr Sail had alleged.
Prabhakar Sail was later declared as a “hostile” witness by the anti-drugs agency.
Mr Malik had earlier accused Mr Wankhede of extortion, questioned his birth certificate, and accused him of using forgery to reap benefits meant for Scheduled Castes.
Mr Wankhede and his family have accused the minister of maligning them due to personal vendetta, which involves the arrest of his son-in-law in a drugs case. Mr Malik has brushed off the allegations.
Earlier today, Mr Wankhede’s father Dnyaneshwar Wankhede filed a defamation case against the minister, suing him for 1.25 crore.