Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], September 28 (ANI): Kshitij Prasad was produced on Sunday for remand before the Learned Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate through video conference.
"Before the proceedings began I informed the Magistrate that Kshitij was harassed and blackmailed to make a statement apart from third degree and ill treatment. I requested the Magistrate to record his statement. Kshitij recorded his Statement made before the Ld Magistrate during his remand today which contained the following," said Advocate Satish Maneshinde.
Kshitij received a call from NCB Officer Singh on Thursday 24.09.2020 while he was in Delhi where he had been for the past 10 days, who informed him that they wanted to search his house which they had sealed and record his statement. Kshitij returned to Mumbai on 25.09.2020 and opened and entered his house in the presence of the NCB team at around 9am, he stated.
The team found nothing in the house apart from the end bit of a stale and dry cigarette butt in the balcony. The NCB team began insisting it was a ganja joint even though there was nothing to suggest that and even drew up a panchnama to that effect despite his protests. Upon his wife's insistence, the word 'believed' to be a ganja joint was inserted in the panchnama.
According to Maneshinde, Kshitij was then taken to the NCB office post the search of his house at around 11.30 am along with two of his friends, Isha and Anubhav.
Kshitij was made to sit at the NCB office from 11.30 am to 6.30pm without any information while his friends were questioned. He was later informed by his friends that the NCB informed them that if they gave a statement against him, they would be let off and subsequently they were in fact let off.
Around 6.45pm , Kshitij's questioning finally began where a person by the name of Sanket who appeared to be very friendly and comfortable with the NCB officers was brought into a room with him and Officer Sameer Wankhede along with other officers.
Sanket was asked if he knew Kshitij and stated that he did not recognise him. Kshitij was immediately asked by Sameer Wankhede to leave the room and when he was called back 5 minutes later, Sanket suddenly proclaimed that he knew Kshitij and could recognise him from his WhatsApp picture. Kshitij has never met Sanket and did not recognise him, Maneshinde stated.
Thereafter, Sameer Wankhede began recording Kshitij's statement, wherein various patently false claims were inserted despite his protests. The statement was not recorded as per Kshitij's narration and language. During his statement, he repeatedly inquired with Sameer Wankhede as to whether he was being placed under arrest and repeatedly requested to be allowed to speak to his lawyer/family. No clarity was provided to him in this regard nor was he permitted to speak to his lawyer.
At around 11 pm, Kshitij was informed by Sameer Wankhede that he would have to stay the night at the NCB office. When he asked if he was being arrested, he was informed by the officer that he was not and that he was being made to stay as his statement was not complete and due to certain security concerns.
The NCB officers apart from Sameer Wankhede were courteous to Kshitij and provided him with a comfortable sleeping arrangement. The next morning when his statement recording resumed, Kshitij was categorically informed by Sameer Wankhede in the presence of several other officers, that since he was associated with Dharma Productions, they would let him off if he implicated either Karan Johar, Somel Mishra, Rakhi, Apoorva, Neeraj or Rahil falsely alleging that they consumed drugs. Kshitij refused to comply with this despite the pressure being mounted on him as he did not know any of these people personally and did not wish to falsely implicate anyone.
Irked by Kshitij's refusal to comply, Sameer Wankhede told him that since he did not want to cooperate he would teach him a lesson and made him sit on the floor next to his chair. Sameer Wankhede then put the shoe of his foot near Kshitij' face and proclaimed that this was his true Aukad. This incident occurred in the presence of Sanket and several NCB Officers all of whom laughed at his plight. The incident severely traumatised Kshitij , who had never been in this kind of situation before. After over 48 hours in such custody, he was extremely fatigued and shaken.
He requested to speak with Sameer Wankhede alone and enquired if he had offended him in any way or done anything to irk him. He also reiterated that he would very much like to speak with his lawyer or family, stated Maneshinde.
Sameer Wankhede informed him that if he wished to be granted a call, he should sign the statement they had prepared which he could retract later. Kshitij was unaware of the legalities involved and had never even come across this term of 'retraction of statement'. Sameer Wankhede then informed him that if he did not sign the statement, the pressure would continue to mount and he would not be given access to his family or lawyer. At the end of nearly 50 hours of interrogation, humiliation and torment, Kshitij is his desperation to speak to his lawyer or family, unwillingly and under threats signed the statement.
The Magistrate heard both the sides later and remanded Kshitij to NCB custody till October 3, 2020.
It can be seen from the remand application and the statement of Kshitij Prasad that NCB is bent upon falsely implicating KJo or some top officers of Dharma Productions, Maneshinde asserted. (ANI)