Aryan Khan case: NCB official Sameer Wankhede faces arrest following lodging of complaint with Mumbai Police

Advocate Sudha Dwivedi approached Mumbai Police seeking registration of an FIR against Sameer Wankhede, NCB's Mumbai Zonal Director for extortion, criminal conspiracy and bribery in Aryan Khan case

Sameer Wankhede (Image: Twitter)
Sameer Wankhede (Image: Twitter)

Rahul Gul

In a dramatic development in the Aryan Khan ‘cruise ship drugs’ case, a Mumbai-based lawyer has approached the Mumbai Police seeking registration of an FIR against Sameer Wankhede – the Mumbai Zonal Director of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) – and others for extortion, criminal conspiracy and bribery.

Advocate Sudha Dwivedi's complaint, filed at MRA Marg police station, which was accessed by National Herald, states that a proper investigation is required into the whole matter as it is clear that the central agency's investigation is only an attempt to tarnish the image of the "Maharashtra Government, Bollywood Film Industry and the Anti–Narcotics Cell of the State Government who has been working tirelessly by seizing 'heroin' and not 'heroines'."

“A proper investigation into the matter is necessary as..the investigation is poorly conducted with a sole intention to extort monies by putting fear in the mind of Aryan Khan for commission of an actual offence wherein the punishment is 20 years or more,” her complaint states.

"The statement of the said Prabhakar Sail makes it clear that, there was no recovery. The panchnamas are false, fabricated and it was done with a clear intention for personal gains and with hand in gloves with NCB Mumbai Zonal Unit officials involved and for which proper investigation has to be done by your office, failing which, the criminal act of these people would boost their confidence and they can misuse the same to their personal gains," it says.

"I categorically inform you that such wilful acts of the accused to cheat and break the trust of the people at large is an act of cowardice, and such people should be immediately and without any delay be taken into custody by registering an offence based on this present letter," the complaint states.

Apart from Wankhede, the complaint seeks an FIR against Pooja Dadlani (Shahrukh Khan’s manager), witnesses Kiran Gosavi (in the viral picture along with Aryan Khan) and Prabhakar Sail besides BJP volunteer Manish Bhanushali under sections 384, 388, 120B of the IPC and section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Aryan Khan case: NCB official Sameer Wankhede faces arrest following lodging of complaint with Mumbai Police
Aryan Khan case: NCB official Sameer Wankhede faces arrest following lodging of complaint with Mumbai Police

As reported by National Herald on Sunday, in his affidavit, Sail claimed that Sameer Wankhede asked him to sign on blank papers, Gosavi spoke to one 'Sam' about an extortion plan along with a cut to Wankhede, Dadlani met Gosavi after the raid and subsequently asked Sail to collect two bags containing Rs. 50 lakhs cash.

Dwivedi’s complaint mentions Kiran Gosavi's viral selfie with Khan, while the latter was in NCB's custody. “Gosavi is not an NCB official and not even remotely connected with any of the state offices or central government,” it says.

"These illegal acts of Mr. Kiran Gosavi with the active help of other senior NCB Officials, of impersonating himself to be an NCB official of Mumbai Zonal Unit and thereafter interrogating the suspects of NDPS Act offences, keeping them in surveillance and clicking pictures with the detained suspects and uploading them on social media, are completely offensive," it says.

"'One bad Fish can spoil the whole Pond'. The officials of the NCB which are involved in this issue had the duty to serve the public interest aspersions the statutory provisions of law, but these officials are in clear violation of the same, and the indication seems to be that , they do not work for the public at large but probably for their own interest," the complaint states.

Copies of the complaint are marked to state home minister Dilip Walse Patil, Commissioner of Police, Joint Commissioner of Police and Additional CP (Anti- Corruption).

When National Herald reached out to Dwivedi for comments, she said, “The matter is extremely serious and needs to be investigated”.

Asked if Wankhede’s arrest is imminent following the filing of the complaint, she said, “No comments please”.

It may be noted that the NCB and Wankhede have vehemently denied the allegations. On Monday, they approached a Special NDPS Court seeking directions that cognizance should not be taken of the affidavit. However, the Special Judge disposed of the plea, ruling that no such ‘blanket orders’ could be passed and it was for the concerned court or authority to pass appropriate orders.

Prior to that, on Sunday, Wankhede had shot off a letter to the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, Hemant Nagrale seeking protection from possible ‘legal action’, claiming that he has learnt of "some precipitate legal action" for framing him falsely, being planned by some unknown persons concerning the raid on the cruiser on October 2.

Indirectly referring to a statement by NCP leader and and Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik last week, he wrote: "It is also brought to your notice that threat of jail and dismissal have been issued against the undersigned on public media by highly respectable public functionaries."

The 2008 batch IRS (Customs) officer asked the Mumbai Police chief to "ensure that no such precipitate legal action" is carried out to frame and falsely implicate him with ulterior motives.

Wankhede - who had earlier complained to the city and state police alleging threats to life - reminded Nagrale that NCB Deputy Director-General, South West Region, Mutha Ashok Jain, has already referred the latest matter (the witness' sensational revelations) to the NCB headquarters for necessary action.

The vigilance complaint may spell further trouble for Wankhede.

Speaking to National Herald, Delhi-based lawyer Nishant Kumar Srivastava said, “I do not think that the alleged affidavit wherein it has been alleged by the deponent that Mr. Wankhede tried to extort in order to settle the matter may lead to immediate arrest of Mr. Wankhede, looking at the peculiar fact that the bail application of Aryan Khan is sub judice and that there is no sanction from a competent authority under section 197 Cr. P. C.”

“Further, even the alleged affidavit merely mentions about the deponent having overhead a telephonic conversation between two people wherein they were talking about some dealing and alleged payment to be made to Mr. Wankhede, clearly is a hearsay and has very insignificant evidentiary value,” he said.

“Again, immediate arrest of Mr. Wankhede may give out very wrong signal and set a precedent for accused persons in a pending and sub judice matters to discredit an official, who purportedly is acting in his official capacity, and could become a norm for those seeking bail to resort to such a tactics to influence the investigation and the outcome of a pending bail application,” he added.

“However, the allegations must be looked into thoroughly and if any illegality has happened, as alleged, those responsible must be punished as per law, irrespective of their position or standing,” he said.

An Advocate on Record (AOR) in the Supreme Court, speaking on the condition of anonymity, however, opined that in view of the larger picture, starting from Aryan Khan’s arrest, the various developments in the matter and slew of allegations and counter-allegations that have been levelled, Wankhede’s arrest was imminent and just a matter of time.

“The MVA partners have demanded a suo moto investigation by the Mumbai Police, setting up of a Special Investigation Team to probe the NCB affairs, intervention of the Supreme Court, etc,” she pointed out.

Interestingly, national political analyst and TV panellist Nishant Verma, on Monday evening posted a tweet asking Mumbai Police to investigate if any criminal cases had been filed against Sameer Wankhede, claiming that he had got engaged to one Shabana Quereshi on April 21, 2015 even as his current wife, Marathi actress Kranti Redkar, says he got divorced in 2016. “Too short a marriage,” he posted.

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    Published: 25 Oct 2021, 10:38 PM