Among the 14 people whom the NCB chargesheeted on Friday in connection to the Cordelia cruise ship drug raid case, eight were arrested onboard the ship on October 2, 2021. Of the eight, seven were found in possession of contraband. The remaining six persons chargesheeted are suppliers of drugs.
According to the NCB, one of its intelligence officers – Haresh Gangan – had received prior information that over 10 people, who were participating in an event as guests on the ship, were carrying drugs.
As they had information that suspects have concealed drugs in their baggage, clothes and accessories, the NCB officers positioned themselves near the departure gates. At 4.50 pm, Vikrant Chhokar and Ishmeet Chadha arrived at the departure gate.
“IO (investigating officer) asked Vikrant Chhokar and Ishmeet Chadha if they are in possession of any drugs… they said they both are in possession of contraband. Subsequently, Chhokar was searched, and he himself took out a few contraband items from his trouser pocket… One small zip lock pouch with white crystalline powder was found. Chhokar admitted that it was Mephedrone,” the chargesheet said.
Subsequently, another zip lock pouch was found on Chhokar, containing cocaine. The officers got it tested there with DD Kit, and got a positive result. “Another plastic pouch was found with Chhokar containing a black-coloured sticky substance. It was tested… and was found to be charas,” it added.
The chargesheet said NCB also found 15 pink-coloured tablets on Chadha, which he claimed were MDMA (Ecstasy) drugs.
Later, Arbaaz Merchant and Aryan Khan were stopped when they approached the departure gate. Asked if they were in possession of drugs,
Merchant said he had charas inside his shoes. “Merchant voluntarily took out a zip lock pouch containing charas from his shoes and handed it over to Ashish Ranjan Prasad (IO)… The substance, upon testing with DD kit, tested positive for charas,” said the NCB.
Another passenger, Gomit Chopra, was intercepted and during searches, a few contraband items were found on him. “One small zip lock pouch was found with a white powder-like substance, which Chopra admitted was cocaine. The contraband, upon testing, tested positive for cocaine…,” the chargesheet said. Another zip lock pouch containing four light green-coloured tablets was also found on Chopra, who said it was MDMA.
Another chargesheeted accused, Munmun Dhamecha, in her statement, told NCB that she smokes charas to overcome depression. “She said that she brought 5 gm of charas, which she had purchased in Goa for personal consumption… She added that when the NCB officers shared their identity and intention of searching the cabins, she threw the charas from her pocket to a corner table out of fear. She said that the charas was later recovered, sealed and seized by NCB in her presence,” said the chargesheet.
The NCB said that four green-coloured Ecstasy pills were recovered from a sanitary pad belonging to accused Nupur Sateja at her cabin. It added that she had revealed that she purchased the pills from a person named Mohak Jaswal – who was also on board the ship – and paid Rs 6,000 for them. Subsequently, Jaswal was called for questioning. The NCB said he accepted that he had arranged four Ecstasy tablets, which were recovered from Sateja. “However, no contraband was found on him,” the chargesheet said.
Manish Rajgaria, another chargesheeted accused who is a resident of Odisha, was found in possession of 4 gm of weed on the ship.
The remaining six accused, who were arrested later, have been identified as drug peddlers in the chargesheet.
While one arrested person has been identified as drug peddler Abdul Kadar Shaikh, he supplied drugs to Jaswal and was found in possession of MDMA. The name of another accused, Shreyas Nair, cropped up during Chadda’s questioning. Officers found 2 gm of charas at Nair’s house in Goregaon.
Another arrested accused is Aachit Kumar, a resident of Powai. His name appeared in Aryan’s WhatsApp chats in relation to ganja.
Chinedu Igwe, a Nigerian staying in Mira road, was arrested on October 7 with 15 gm of MDMA pills. Another Nigerian, Okoro Uzemo, was arrested on October 10. Their names cropped up during questioning of Abdul Kadar Shaikh.
Shivraj Harijan, a resident of Santacruz (West), was found with 62 gm of charas. He was arrested on October 9.