MUMBAI: Facing a barrage of allegations of extortion and bribery, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Mumbai Zonal Unit Director Sameer Wankhede was on Friday removed from six cases including one on Goa-bound luxury cruise drugs case involving Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.
However, speaking to The New Indian, Wankhede insisted that it was he who had requested the drug-law enforcement agency that the case be transferred to Delhi unit.
“I am still the Mumbai Zonal Director of the NCB. And I had even requested that these cases be transferred to Delhi Unit. So only the probe has been shifted with the Delhi NCB team,” he told The New Indian.
He said that he had earlier also requested for another central agency probe (such as CBI or CVC) to ascertain the allegations of extortion and bribery by transferring the cases from Mumbai Police.
“The same thing (that another central agency looks into bribery allegation) was also mentioned in my writ petition in court that the matter be probed by a central agency,” Wankhede added.
NCB DDG Sanjay Singh in a statement said, “A Special Investigation team (SIT) comprising officers from Operations Branch of NCB Headquarters has been constituted by the Director General, NCB to take over a total of 6 cases from NCB Mumbai which have national and international ramifications, in order to conduct deeper investigation to find out forward and backward linkages.
No officer or officers have been removed from their present roles and they will continue to assist the Operations Branch investigation as required until any specific orders are issued to the contrary. it is reiterated that the NCB functions across India as a single integrated agency
Wankhede, who had visited Delhi last on October 25, had locked horns with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Nawab Malik, whose namesake son-in-law Samir was also being investigated by the officer.
Wankhede had arrested Samir Khan in January this year, after which Malik has mounted a repeated attack on the officer
Wankhede had come under scanner over the role of the two independent witness in the drugs case.
The NCB had ordered a vigilance inquiry against him.
Even Malik had made serious allegations against Wankhede.
Wankhede came under scanner following the allegations levelled by a witness in the cruise ship case, Prabhakar Sail, of an extortion bid of Rs 25 crore by NCB and independent witnesses KP Gosavi to let off Aryan Khan.
Gosavi was arrested by Pune Police in connection with a fraud case.
Even the NCB had ordered a vigilance probe against Wankhede, who has been probing the luxury cruise drugs case involving Aryan Khan.
Wankhede along with his team had carried out raids at Goa-bound luxury cruise ship on October 2. Aryan Khan along with seven others were arrested on October 3 in the case.
After the news of Wankhede’s removal from the case, Malik took to Twitter and wrote, “Sameer Wankhede removed from five cases including the Aryan Khan case. There are 26 cases in all that need to be probed. This is just the beginning… a lot more has to be done to clean this system and we will do it.”
Earlier, Maharashtra government had informed the Bombay High Court that it will not arrest Wankhede without giving him prior notice of three working days in connection with allegations of extortion and corruption levelled against him.
Wankhede had approached the High Court seeking transfer of the Mumbai Police’s probe into complaints of alleged extortion against NCB officers, including himself, to the CBI.
Aryan Khan was granted bail by the Bombay High Court last week. He came out of the Arthur road prison on October 30, two days after he was granted bail. He spent 22 days in prison in the case.