Updated: October 27, 2021 3:04:09 pm
Days after Prabhakar Sail raked up a controversy by claiming that he was made to sign blank papers by the Narcotics Control Bureau, a witness in another drug bust case has alleged that he had to go through a similar experience earlier this year.
Shekhar Kamble, a Navi Mumbai resident who is a witness in a drug bust case being probed by NCB in August this year, claimed that the investigating body took his signature on 10-12 blank papers and later filled it up themselves without informing him about the contents of the panchanama. Kamble said Sail’s recent interview to the media inspired him to speak up and “reveal the truth”.
When contacted for a comment on allegations made by Kamble, IRS Sameer Wankhede, Mumbai zonal director for NCB, said, “Hostile. Will comment in court. Matter is subjudice.”
Kamble made these allegations while speaking on camera in an interview to a regional news channel. After his television interview, Kamble spoke with the Indian Express over the phone and confirmed he had indeed made those allegations against the NCB.
The NCB had earlier this year conducted Operation Thunderbolt, raiding several places and arresting drug peddlers. During an operation at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai in August, they intercepted a Nigerian national identified as Kingsley Ukwueza at a Nigerian community kitchen. Ukwuzea was present there along with around 50 Nigerian nationals who reportedly fled when the NCB team arrived.
The agency had said Ukweuza has international links and is a major MD supplier in Navi Mumbai. Two NCB officials were also injured in the melee. The case had been reported by the Indian Express back then.
Kamble claimed he is a witness in this case. Speaking to a Marathi news channel on video, Kamble claimed, “I am Shekhar Kamble, resident of Navi Mumbai. I am not making any allegations but I want to say that I got cheated (by NCB) in this case. In a Kharghar case number 80/21, a Nigerian was caught. That Nigerian was not a drug peddler. The Nigerian drug peddler who we went to nab pushed us and ran away.”
He continued, “Then we went to another place called Nigerian Kitchen. There were 40 to 50 Nigerians here. They raided the building and all the Nigerians started running away. They managed to catch two of them, including a boy. They took them to the office and let go of the boy the next day but kept the second person (Ukweuza). He did not have any drugs. They showed 60 grams of MD drugs have been recovered from him. And then three days later, they made me sign on about 10 to 12 blank papers. I asked them to show me the papers. I said I will read them and then sign. But they asked me to sign right away and said they would fill it up later. Thereafter, my friend and I signed the papers and we left.”
Kamble further said since he was asked to sign the blank papers, he has no idea about their contents. “Yesterday when I saw the letter sent by an NCB staffer (referring to a letter sent to NCP MLA Nawab Malik by an anonymous NCB staffer alleging that the investigating body has lodged false cases), it mentioned the Kharghar case as well. I got to know this through the media. Now if I am asked to be present in court as I am a witness in the case, what will I say? Because I have no idea what is written in those papers. What if I am found in the wrong by the court? Then the court will punish me! Back then they had asked me to just sign the blank documents.”
Kamble said he was emboldened to speak out after he saw Sail share his experience. “Yesterday night when I got a call from (an NCB staffer), he said even he has not read the letter. When I told him I was made to sign blank papers just like Sail, he asked me not to talk about it but just come to the NCB office.”
When asked if he was ready to speak to cops after making these allegations, Kamble said, “I am ready for questioning by any agency. I will reveal the truth.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.