A witness in the Mumbai cruise drugs case recorded his statement with the Mumbai Police on November 4 and claimed that the raid on October 2 was pre-planned and Aryan Khan was framed by certain individuals in order to make money.
A witness in the Mumbai cruise drugs case, Vijay Pagare, recorded his statement with the Mumbai Police’s special investigation team (SIT) on November 4. He claimed that the raid on the cruise ship on October 2 was pre-planned and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan was framed by certain individuals in order to make money.
Vijay Pagare claimed that he had been living with Sunil Patil for the last few months in order to recover the money that was owed to him and had, thus, witnessed the alleged extortion and framing of Aryan Khan as it unraveled. Sunil Patil’s name became relevant to the case on Saturday when Maharashtra BJP leader Mohit Kamboj claimed he is the ‘mastermind’ in the case and is closely associated with leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party.
WHAT DID THE WITNESS SAY?
In his statement to the Mumbai Police SIT constituted on October 27 to probe the extortion allegations against NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede, witness Vijay Pagare narrated the following course of events.
According to him, he had been living with Sunil Patil for the last few months as he needed to recover a certain amount of money from him. Sunil Patil, according to Maharashtra BJP leader Mohit Kamboj, is someone closely associated with NCP leaders. His name has cropped up during the investigation into the extortion charges.
‘LIVING WITH SUNIL PATIL’
Witness Vijay Pagare, a resident of Dhule, claimed that he was living with Sunil Patil in order to make him pay back the money he owed him. “I had paid him in 2018 for some work. He did not do the work and was not paying my money back. So, I was following him wherever he went. I was with him in Ahmedabad, Surat and at Mumbai’s Lalit Hotel and Fortune Hotel,” he told India Today.
Vijay Pagare said that Sunil Patil was staying at Fortune Hotel in Navi Mumbai on September 27. According to him, a room was booked at the same hotel in witness KP Gosavi’s name as well.
‘BADA KAAM HO GAYA’
At the hotel, BJP-affiliated witness Manish Bhanushali, KP Gosavi and Sunil Patil met a few days before the raid, he claimed. As per Vijay Pagare, he was in the hotel room when Manish Bhanushali kissed Sunil Patil and said, “Bada kaam ho gaya [the big work has been done]. We have to leave for Ahmedabad but don’t take Pagare along.”
According to Vijay Pagare, he was clueless about what was happening at this stage.
‘NAMES OF POOJA, SAM’
On October 3, Manish Bhanushali allegedly returned to the hotel room in Navi Mumbai. He met Vijay Pagare and told him to come along to get his money. The two of them then went to the NCB office. On the way, Manish Bhanushali was speaking to someone on the phone and took names including Pooja, Sam and Mayur, Vijay Pagare claimed. He allegedly also said that KP Gosavi’s phone is switched off and suspected that he had absconded after getting money.
On reaching the NCB office, Vijay Pagare said he saw media standing there and was told that Aryan Khan had been detained by the NCB. Later, he saw a news clip about the cruise party raid and saw visuals of Manish Bhanushali and KP Gosavi escorting the accused.
At this point, he said he realised the raid had been pre-planned. According to Vijay Pagare, he tried reaching out to Advocate Satish Maneshinde, who was representing Aryan Khan in court, to inform him of what he knew. However, Satish Maneshinde didn’t pay heed to him, he said.
‘TOLD NOT TO INTERFERE’
Vijay Pagare added, “Sunil Patil had told me not to interfere in his business. All his meetings took place at hotels and Sam D’Souza was among the people who came to meet him.”
“Before the cruise raid, he told me he had got work and would finally pay me back. I didn’t know anything about the case then. Later, I realised the money would come from this raid,” Vijay Pagare said.