Fearless Journalism. Vijaylakshmi goes deep into the arrest of Aryan Khan on Drug Charges. Original Content Only On The India Observer, TIO
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By Vijaylakshmi Nadar, Bureau Chief, Copy Edited By Adam Rizvi, New York, TIO: Remember all those speeches by Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the 2014 elections? Promising with a flourish, to end corruption, terrorism, and crime in the country? He had promised to spare no one and investigate/arrest all corrupt politicians, even if they belonged to his own Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). And a substantial part of the poor, illiterate and innocent Indians, besides some educated but bigoted supporters got sucked into those promises of ‘ache din’ (good days) and voted for him. Not once, but twice?
The first win was relatively easy. BJP and Narendra Modi were riding on the wave of the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare, which swept across the country, supported by the Indian diaspora around the world. It is during the second spell, following a dismal performance on all parameters, that all the ingenuity and state/center machinery of a corrupt government, and the corrupt media was used, to engineer a suspicious win.
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So has India under Modi gotten rid of the corruption, terrorism, crime ravaging the country finally?
So what really happened?
Soon after coming to power in 2014, Narendra Modi got to work to not only instigate a Hindu Muslim divide but also to keep the country divided on hate lines, systematically discredit and destroy the opposition, reduce national media to a joke and turn India’s prime investigating agencies into pets, to let loose on the critics and opposition every time they asked an uncomfortable question.
Citizens were forced to undergo the anguish of Demonetization in November 2018, touting it as a single-stop solution to end terrorism, black money, drug, counterfeit money. The citizens bore the brunt of it all silently, while the wealth of the BJP and its cronies grew exponentially.
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Is Gujarat becoming the drug capital of India?
Drugs worth Rs 24,0800 crores have entered Gujarat, from Pakistan and Afghanistan in the last five months alone. These seizures were not even part of a sustained crackdown on the drug mafia, raising questions about how many drug consignments landed without being detected? And who are the people behind these massive drug deals? The individuals or groups sourcing these drugs in such gigantic quantities cannot definitely be ordinary citizens.
But so far no big names have been revealed either by the investigating agency or the government. When troubling questions arise, the Modi government just ignores or deflects the issue. Like it did recently when 300 kilos of pure heroin from Afghanistan landed at the Mundra port in September, but no further revelations were made.
In the absence of a national drug policy and a total lack of direction for the central agencies to handle this menace, the government’s claims of defeating the drug industry ring hollow.
Just in the last couple of years. Gujarat seems to have become the new drug hub, leaving Punjab behind. And the highest figures of drug users are actually being reported from Uttar Pradesh.
Ironically 90% of the cases reported by even the central agencies like the
(NCB) which has a much bigger role in tackling the drug trade, is focusing on consumption cases, not trafficking. And in such cases, there are little or no drugs recovered from the consumers.
Are India’s premier agencies being misused to shut down the opposition?
From 2014 onwards, these agencies, which raid and embarrass, without uncovering anything, serve a dual purpose. It shuts down critics and also traps them into joining the BJP, in states where there is a tough battle for victory, like it happened in West Bengal, with the founder leader of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) Mukul Roy. A witch hunt was launched against Mukul Roy, with not just the enforcement agencies but also the media to prove how corrupt he was. But the witchhunt lasted only till Mukul Roy joined the BJP.
Though the Modi government has been criticized for being a laundromat, guaranteed to wash off the most corrupt, the opposition has not been able to do anything about the attacks, besides criticizing it. Mamata Banerjee too has not been able to use the tremendous state resources at her disposal, to crush BJP/RSS in West Bengal. Congress-led governments in Madhya Pradesh before it slipped back to the BJP, Rajasthan, and Punjab to have shown no spunk to expose the BJP/RSS in their states.
In the southern states where BJP is the weakest in Kerala and Tamil Nadu too, the respective chief ministers Pinnarayi Vijayan and M K Stalin have steered clear of the corrupt BJP forces.
Who is Nawab Malik and why is he important?
The expose against not just the NCB, but also the BJP, by one of the minister’s in the Udhav Thackeray led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is lifting citizens from a sense of despondency, which has taken over the entire country, following the dire effects of Modi’s poor, corrupt governance.
Nawab Malik, the 62-year-old Minister for Minority and Skill Development, from the National Congress Party (NCP), has turned a personal tragedy into a sharpened, deadly tool to burst Narendra Modi and his fake governance model.
Nawab Malik has been a minister for eight terms and a Member of the Legislative Assembly for more than 25 years, in his long political journey of about 42 years.
Though he has been critical of the previous BJP’s Devendra Fadanvis led Maharashtra state government, he did not grab headlines then, the way he is doing today. He believes his son-in-law Sameer Khan too was arrested by the NCB, under false charges of drug possession, to silence him. A charge sheet was filed in Sameer Khan’s case, with no mention of seized drugs, after the forensic lab in Gujarat stated that the 200 kg of drug that was seized was just herbal tobacco.
Sameer Khan’s release on bail after eight months, coincided with the arrest of superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, in yet another fake case. The timing of Nawab Malik’s expose against the NCB officer, Sameer Wankhade, who was behind the arrest of both Sameer Khan and Aryan Khan, besides Rhea Chakraborty, was met with a lot of excitement and welcome relief.
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Nawab Malik’s daily teases on Twitter for more than a month, which plans to continue till December and more, has generated more excitement than any release on Netflix,
Was Aryan Khan deliberately targeted for extortion?
But a few days later on October 2, news of actor Shahrukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan’s arrest sent shocking waves in Bollywood. So paralyzed was the industry by the shocking arrest, that a cloud of silence settled on Bollywood for a couple of days. Till a real-life Bond, sprung up on the scene on October 6, to pull the cover off not just the farcical arrest but raising all kinds of doubts regarding possible extortions in Bollywood, which could have netted almost 1000 crores, The connections could well be traced to the Modi government, once all the revelations are out.
Who is Sameer Wankhede ?
NCB’s zonal director Sameer Wankhade had swarmed the headlines in September 2020, when he arrested actress Rhea Chakraborty, within a week of his transfer to NCB. Rhea who was simply being questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), for her possible involvement in her boyfriend actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s murder, was suddenly arrested by the NCB for her supposed involvement in an international drug syndicate.
Rhea Chakraborty was already part of an intense media trial when the fraudulent tale that Wankhade spun around Rhea, just on the basis of her WhatsApp chats, established nothing. The chats were selectively leaked to the media, to keep the jamboree going for days. The only concrete information the NCB had was that Rhea had paid for a couple of grams of marijuana for her mentally ill boyfriend Sushant Singh Rajput.
With this case, Sameer Wankhade became one of the many pliant officers of the Modi government, who achieved just what the center wanted. To cause a distraction before elections in the Bihar assembly last year. Modi media loved him and he was basking in the limelight when Nawab Malik decided to tweet critical information about NCB’s functioning under Wankhede. His tweets about how the officer was targeting consumers, especially from Bollywood, with just a few grams of marijuana, in cases that fall under the purview of the local police, and how charges against Rhea were fake, hit a raw nerve.
Nawab Malik, when asked why he was targeting this particular officer, recounted how local journalists had warned him that his tweets were not being liked by Wankhade. And soon enough in February this year, Sameer Khan was arrested by the NCB for “possession of 200 kgs of drugs”.
Nawab Malik’s family fought for almost eight months just to get him bailed out by the High court, which is a norm not an exception in these cases. During this time he and his family kept a close watch on how the NCB officer functioned.
When the High Court stated that the drugs that were supposedly seized by NCB to nail Sameer Khan were nothing more than herbal tobacco, Nawab Mallik was ready with his ammunition, some brilliant investigative work, to completely destroy the credibility of the officer, which ideally an alert media should be doing.
Mallik has threatened to expose the previous Devendra Fadanvis led government and its nexus with the NCB and other central agencies to harass Bollywood and the present ruling party leaders, to destabilize the government.
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“I had to do this to protect the innocents, who are being trapped for extortion. If someone is consuming drugs, then there are separate sets of rules for them, which attracts a maximum sentence of a year in prison, which to is waived off, if sent for rehabilitation. Clubbing these consumers who are victims themselves, with those involved in the trade is nothing short of a crime itself.
Wankhade’s carefully crafted image as an honest officer was systematically destroyed by Nawab Malik, in an absolutely thrilling series of exposes, leaving his fans craving for more
In one press conference that Malik did over the last one month, which has been nothing short of a gripping thriller keenly awaited by the journalists, he revealed how the officer and his merry band of friends and relatives, we’re guilty of kidnapping Aryan Khan. Malik’s exposes revealed that it was an extortion plot that had gone bad. The series of exposes helped public sympathy towards Aryan Khan, now seen as a victim, and the case, a means to punish his famous father for not falling in line with the center. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been appointed by both the center and the state, to investigate the cases filed by Wankhade, a major achievement for Malik.
Gross violation of the NDPS Act by Sameer Wankhede
Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985, states that whatever drug is seized during raids, it has to be sealed on the spot, and kept in a strong room, the seal is opened in front of the judge, drugs are sealed back and then returned to the strong room.
Sameer Wankhede’s modus operandi, to get signatures of ‘witnesses’ on blank papers, and if they don’t find drugs, fabricate a case in their office and then leak photos to the media, was exposed by Nawab Malik.
Among the many accusations leveled by Malik against Wankhade is that he was born a Muslim, since his father, who belongs to the reserved category, converted to Islam, to marry a Muslim woman. However, Wankhade, according to Malik, used his father’s caste certificate to appear for the UPSC exams and get a government job. To further establish this, Malik even produced Wankhade’s previous marriage certificate, which identifies him as a Muslim. This is a serious charge which if proved correct, could be the end of his IRS career.
Following Malik’s revelations, key witnesses like Prabhakar Sail, associated with the case, came forward to describe it as an extortion attempt, sending Wankhade scurrying to his political bosses for support. Several of them did jump in to support the officer, including the former Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis. Nawab Malik had also exposed his ambitious wife Amruta Fadanvis’s music video being funded by drug money.
Fadanvis then went on to claim that Nawab Malik was involved with the underworld, one of the easiest allegations to make. Nawab Malik retorted back to say that it was Fadanvis who was involved with not just a member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang but also involved with counterfeit currency, which sent Fadanvis scurrying for cover. Malik had also alleged that Fadanvis was deliberately trying to deflect the media attention away from Sameer Wankhade, for fear of his arrest, which could further expose the BJP.
Wankhade, despite not having had any police training, was given a sensitive posting in the National Investigation Agency, between 2013 and 2017. After which he was transferred to the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence. It was in the DRI and a couple of years that he spent in the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) at the international airport, that he identified Bollywood stars as soft targets.
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In a crime where bail is the norm, after taking into the issue, the lack of gravity and seriousness of the offense, antecedents of the applicant, and possibilities of him/her tampering with evidence, all of Wankhede’s victims struggled for bail.
Aryan is just 23, with no criminal background, and was continuously denied bail, despite no drug found on him while a story was concocted that he was in touch with a “peddler”, This 22-year-old peddler, Achit Sudeep Kumar, picked up with just 2.6 gms in his possession, which to is suspicious, and certainly not in Kilos, that would qualify him as a “Pedder”.
It is in this scenario, a Nawab Malik daring to speak up to expose Sameer Wankhede, and through him the BJP, with ample proof too, is a way forward for other chief ministers as well, to expose the corrupt Modi government. Knowing how vindictive this government really is.
Read More from this writer Vijaylakshmi Nadar: Fixed Drug Deals to Trap Young Influential Targets
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