By Sushil Kutty
The Aryan Khan Cruise Case is getting curiouser and curiouser. So much so, Sherlock Holmes would have given up in disgust, maybe inclined to jump off a cliff descending to a rocky bottom where the breakers strike with ear-splitting raucous. Meanwhile, the “Wounded and wronged Prince” languishes in a cell housing a 100 horrible and horrendous inmates.
Shahrukh Khan’s son has been in dire straits for days. Aryan Khan is only drinking bottled mineral water, perhaps of dubious brand, along with biscuits dipped in water! His parents sent a money-order of Rs 4500 bucks and that is what’s keeping him alive. SRK visited the Arthur Road Jail once and there are conflicting reports. Some said both father and son, separated by a glass barrier, cried. Others said bunkum, SRK is made of sterner stuff.
But that is not the story. The story is the Narcotic Control Bureau’s zonal director Sameer Wankhede is an “extortionist” as revealed by a “panch” witness in the Aryan case. Apparently, the fellow is now a hostile witness. He has jumped ship and taken up residence in the ‘Save Aryan’ yacht. The move smells and the shifty manner in which the gentleman acted and spoke on TV put the needle of suspicion squarely on him.
The NCB officer in the centre of the “twist in the tale”, Wankhede, however, refused to be cowed down though his role has come under the shifting spotlight. He informed his bosses in the NCB and they chose to believe him rather than give credence to the rogue witness who had alleged Wankhede was hoping for an “ughai of Rs. 8 crore.” NCP minister in the Uddhav Thackeray Govt Nawab Malik couldn’t believe his ears!
“Wasn’t I saying the same?” he told media. The media wasn’t fooled. At least some of them weren’t. They countered Malik with isn’t it possible that you had first laid the ground for people to get used to Wankhede and “ughai” by planting Dubai and Maldives in the people’s mind by linking the charges of “ughai” and the two tourist destinations to Wankhede?
And when that did not succeed, promptly comes this “bodyguard panch” with his affidavit claiming Wankhede did “ughai”. How convenient! There are too many holes in the narrative. The MVA is convinced that Aryan Khan is in Arthur Road pen because Shahrukh Khan is the real target and nobody can touch King Khan. “It’s the ‘Squid Game’!” says Twinkle Khanna. “Wankhede is anti-Bollywood and there‘s not an iota of doubt that Wankhede’s soul is sold to the Bharatiya Janata Party,” say NCP’s Nawab Malik and the Shiva Sena’s Sanjay Raut.
Both the influential persons want Sameer Wankhede pulled out of the Aryan Khan case because he no longer can be believed or trusted. His halo has evaporated and there is the mark of the devil on his head now. Sameer Wankhede’s friends are not amused. They say that the MVA is doing a repeat of “Arnab Goswami last year.” And then, too, the villain of the piece was Nawab Malik!
Right, Malik had told Goswami he would commit suicide in jail. And now he has prophesied that Sameer Wankhede will be sacked and put behind bars! Wankhede did not take the prophecy seriously till yesterday (October 23), the day the rogue witness surfaced with his damning affidavit. Late in the evening Wankhede wrote to the Mumbai Police commissioner seeking protection from “precipitate legal action”.
Yup. Mumbai is lethal place for select members of the two-legged. Aryan Khan happened to be one of them. Now there’s Sameer Wankhede also. And in the melee nobody knows who to trust and who to believe. It’s a power game and a political slugfest. Journalists tiptoe around politicians; media barons cannot think beyond advertisements lost and policemen are looking over their shoulders while shadowing suspects.
Bollywood is at the same time Mumbai’s sleaze and Mumbai’s showpiece. To the common man everybody related to Bollywood is drunk on narcotics. And the creative lengths to which these showboats go. The drug jargon they have created! From ‘football’ to ‘bomb’ and ‘blast’. The astounding thing is these glittering stars of Bollywood, they refuse to come out of their vanity vans and admit that the drug menace is real. For them everything is surreal, cinema – the bioscope of a 100 years before. Pelf and power have them in a drugged stupor.