An independent witness in the cruise drugs seizure case on Sunday claimed that a Narcotics Control Bureau officer and some other persons demanded Rs 25 crore (Rs 250 million) from Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to release his son Aryan Khan in the case.
Prabhakar Sail, a witness in the case, told the Mirror Now television channel that NCB officials also asked him to sign nine to ten blank papers.
A senior NCB official has denied the allegations, terming them as 'completely false and malicious'.
NCB's Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede earlier this month led the agency's alleged 'drug bust' on a cruise ship following which Aryan Khan was arrested on October 3. He is currently lodged in the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai.
The Pune police recently issued a lookout circular against Kiran Gosavi, another independent witness for the NCB in the cruise drugs case and who has been charged in a 2018 cheating case.
On Sunday, Sail alleged that an NCB officer, Gosavi and another person named Sam D'Souza had demanded Rs 25 crore from Shah Rukh Khan to release his son.
Sail, who claims he is Gosavi's personal bodyguard and accompanied him on the night of the raid, said after Aryan Khan was brought to the NCB office, Gosavi met D'Souza.
Sail claimed he heard Gosavi telling D'Souza over the phone about a demand of Rs 25 crore and to settle at Rs 18 crore as they "have to give Rs eight crore to Sameer Wankhede".
The NCB, while stating that Wankhede has categorically denied the allegations, also said that as the matter is sub judice, Sail should have submitted his prayer to the court if he had anything to say.
Mumbai NCB's Deputy Director General Mutha Ashok Jain issued a statement on Sunday, saying that he came to know through social media that Sail is a witness in the case.
'As he (Sail) is a witness in the case and the case is before the honourable court and is sub judice, he needs to submit his prayer to the court rather than through social media if he has anything to say,' Jain's statement said.
In addition, there are certain vigilance-related allegations against certain persons in the affidavit, which are based on overhearing by Prabhakar Sail, it said.
'Zonal Director of Mumbai NCB Sameer Wankhede has categorically denied these allegations. As some of the contents of the affidavit are related to vigilance matter, we are hereby forwarding the affidavit to the Director General NCB and requesting him for further necessary action,' the statement added.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Minister spokesman Nawab Malik, who has repeatedly termed the cruise drugs bust case as 'fake', said Sail's claims were "very serious" and demanded a probe into it by a Special Investigation Team.
Talking to reporters in Beed, Malik reiterated his allegation that Wankhede was involved in "extortion and terrorising the Mumbai film industry", and said he will meet the chief minister and home minister on Monday in Mumbai seeking a SIT probe into Sail's claims.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut in a tweet said, 'Witness in AryanKhan case made to sign on blank paper by NCB is shocking. Also there are reports that there was demnd of huge money. CM Uddhav Thackeray said that these cases are made to defame Maharashtra. This seems to be coming true. Police should take suo moto cognizance.'
You can watch the Mirror Now video featuring Prabhakar Sail's alleged revelations here (external link).