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The ways of investigation in India!

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on June 06, 2022 with No Comments

After keeping Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan in custody for 26 days before he finally got bail, a second investigation by the apex drugs-related crime-fighting agency, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), now finally exonerated Aryan Khan, and five others charged of possessing and using drugs after they were caught during a raid on a yacht in Mumbai on October 2 last year.

The media, especially the electronic media with its absurd prime time debates, had a gala time in taking dig at Aryan Khan, his friends, party culture in Mumbai ,yacht parties.  Questions were raised  while making suggestions, that the star sun  could be part a large global drug conspiracy and trafficking syndicate. The  media in order to get better TRP, didn’t bother to ask the way the investigation was carried then. Now, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in its findings has mentioned that   Aryan Khan was never in possession of drugs. Hence, there was no need to take his phone and check his chats. The chats did not suggest Khan was part of any international syndicate. The raid on the yacht was not video-recorded as mandated and the drugs recovered from multiple accused arrested in the case were shown as single recovery. NCB’s former Mumbai Zonal Unit director Sameer Wankhede, who carried out the raid, has since been repatriated to his parent cadre.

From relentless hounding to clean chit is a reflection on the working of the NCB. The incompetent, unprofessional handling of the case saw unsubstantiated claims being tossed around; persistent leaks to the media; and unanswered questions on the presence of individuals with dubious credentials during raids. A special investigation team had to be formed after a Maharashtra politician’s dramatic disclosures about the problems with the case. The shoddy probe has invited a transfer for the investigating officer shower that may not compensate the trauma that  Aryan Khan faced.  Nevertheless, no makeover can re-establish the loss of integrity and trust for India main drug law enforcement agency without admitting that there has been an erosion of fair play and ethics.

Aryan Khan paid the price for being young, handsome and rich, secondly, he is the son of one of India’s biggest celebrity. And the fact that he is a Muslim can’t also be discounted. The case has exposed a deep, systemic rot in which a common citizen has on citizen has little power to protect themselves against abuse of power.

The court while deciding in favour of Aryan Khan, reprimanded the NCB team, headed by police officer Sameer Wankhede, which relied on intercepted digital info primarily from WhatsApp chats, went ahead to nab the youngster. The case exemplifies the power of an extortionist officer, who would create smokescreens and a flimsy case, to be fuelled and amplified into an atmosphere of hatred by a untamed media.

There is a clear pattern that has emerged in the way the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has functioned in the recent past, especially when it deals with celebrities and high-profile cases. In politically motivated cases, involving high-profile persons, the action seems to play not in a courtroom but outside it, fueled more by the media and party spokespersons.

 

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