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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Cruise ship drug raid case: Pre-arrest bail plea of Sam D’Souza rejected by high court

The court was informed by Additional Public Prosecutor Prajakta Shinde, appearing for Maharashtra government, that D'Souza's plea was "premature" as he was not named as accused in the FIR yet.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: November 4, 2021 6:35:47 am
High Court on Wednesday rejected the pre-arrest bail plea filed by Sam D’Souza, the man who allegedly brokered a deal purportedly between actor Shah Rukh Khan's manager Pooja Dadlani and panch witness K P Gosavi (File)

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday rejected the pre-arrest bail plea filed by Sam D’Souza, the man who allegedly brokered a deal purportedly between actor Shah Rukh Khan’s manager Pooja Dadlani and panch witness K P Gosavi in the Cordelia cruise ship drug raid case to “help” the actor’s son Aryan after he was picked up by NCB.

The court was informed by Additional Public Prosecutor Prajakta Shinde, appearing for Maharashtra government, that D’Souza’s plea was “premature” as he was not named as accused in the FIR yet.

However, advocates Arun Rajput and Pankaj Jadhav, appearing for D’Souza, sought that the police should follow Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in case he is named accused and given prior notice.
In a late night hearing, a vacation bench of Justice S P Tavade rejected D’Souza’s plea stating that he should have approached the special NDPS court first.

D’souza on Tuesday filed a plea against the Mumbai Police Special Investigation Team probe into complaints of alleged extortion against NCB officers and others. He alleged that as certain politicians from the ruling government have taken his name in press conference, he is seeking protection while apprehending arrest. D’Souza sought a notice of three working days before any coercive action is taken against him.

Claiming that Gosavi – who has since been arrested in a cheating case – took Rs 50 lakh from Dadlani to get Aryan released, D’Souza said NCB witnesses Gosavi and Prabhakar Sail are “fraud and main conspirators”. He added that he ensured the money was returned to Dadlani through her husband.

Sanville Adrian D’Souza alias Sam D’Souza said that NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede had no role in the alleged deal and Gosavi had only pretended to be in touch with him.

Sail, who has claimed to have been employed as bodyguard by Gosavi, through an earlier affidavit had alleged an extortion bid of Rs 25 crore by NCB officers and independent witnesses to let off Aryan.
D’Souza’s name cropped up last month when Sail alleged that he heard Gosavi speaking on the phone with D’Souza, asking him to strike a deal with Dadlani for Rs 25 crore, of which Rs 8 crore would be given to Wankhede.

D’Souza said that on October 1, Gosavi called him to say that he was leaving for Mumbai from Ahmedabad. On reaching Mumbai on October 2, Gosavi said that he has contacted NCB officers, he added. “On October 2, around 8 pm, the applicant was at Taj Presidency, Fort with his business associates for dinner and he received a call from Sunil Patil (middleman), who informed him that a very influential person has been arrested for drugs in Cordelia and requested the applicant to verify it,” D’souza’s plea stated.

While D’Souza went along with his associate in a Toyota Innova Crysta car to Green Gate area (where international cruise terminal is located), he did not come to know who was the influential person, the plea said. “Gosavi and Manish Bhanushali (another NCB witness) thanked the applicant for helping them connect to NCB officials and Gosavi informed the applicant that the influential person arrested was Aryan Shah Rukh Khan,” the plea said.

The plea added that D’Souza was informed by Gosavi that Aryan wanted to speak to Dadlani. It said that Gosavi revealed that “Aryan Khan had no drug in his possession till that time and is innocent” and that he could help him to get relief and asked D’Souza to contact Dadlani.

D’souza claimed that he contacted Dadlani through “a mutual friend, a hotelier” and met her at Lower Parel early October 3.

After she informed of being “a decision maker” herself, D’Souza introduced Gosavi and Dadlani — her husband was also present.

“Kiran Gosavi showed her a list in which Aryan Khan’s name was not present and said that he can help Aryan get out of this situation. Gosavi and Dadlani were discussing and we were asked to stay away because they were (having) confidential (discussion) and scared to speak in public
and hence, we were not part of any discussion that happened between them,” D’Souza claimed.

As per the plea, on October 3, D’Souza was “shocked” to learn that Aryan had been booked and that Patil had taken Rs 50 lakh from Dadlani through Sail.

“The applicant saw that Kiran had saved mobile no. as SW2, thereby showing that he was connected with top NCB officials. However, the Truecaller pop up showed the name of Prabhakar Sail… After coming to know that Kiran Gosavi was a fraud, the applicant’s only motive was to recover money and save his image… Therefore, he connected Sunil Patil (middleman) and Kiran Gosavi and recovered the money and return it to Pooja Dadlani, through her husband,” the plea said.

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