The Narcotics Enforcement Bureau (SET) Special Investigation Team (SET) will not be able to make any progress in investigating the extortion allegations in a drug seizure case on a cruise ship unless it speaks to independent witness Prabhakar Sil, Janeshwar Singh, Deputy Director General of the National Central Bank, said on Friday.

Singh said the agency has recorded the statements of five bank officials and three others so far. Singh leads the five-member SET group.

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Seal had accused National Commercial Bank district manager Samir Wankedi and other officials of trying to extort money after drugs were seized from a cruise ship off the coast of Mumbai. Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, has been arrested in the case along with several other people. However, Wankedi denied the allegations.

Mumbai Police launched a separate investigation into the allegations of extortion and registered a sale’s statement.

Singh said the NCB group had tried to speak with Seal and asked the Mumbai police commissioner for help “because there are reports in the media that he was in contact with the police and they were checking him out”.

“We have also appealed to Seal through the media to come forward to record his statement and provide evidence as we are unable to notify him,” Singh said, adding that SET has also contacted his relatives.

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“I expect him to join the investigation and record his statements because he is our most important witness. Without him, no conclusion can be reached,” Singh said.

The National Central Bank decided to move the court for permission to question KP Gosavi, another witness in the cruise ship drug case. He said Gosavi is now in the custody of Pune police in a fraud case.

Singh said that everyone who needs to be questioned will be called. But he declined to talk about any particular individual when asked about Aryan Khan.

(With input from PTI)

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