Six cases handled by Sameer Wankhede, the NCB officer in charge of the Aryan Khan drugs investigation, have been shifted out of his Mumbai section due to claims of a Rs 80 million settlement tied to the case involving Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son.
The Aryan Khan case, as well as six others handled by Mr Wankhede, including one involving Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik’s son-in-law, would be taken over by a SIT, or special investigative team, led by senior police officer Sanjay Singh.
Mr Singh is an Odisha cadre officer from the 1996 batch.
Mr Wankhede told a private news channel shortly after the cases were switched, “I have not been removed from anyplace” and that he had asked for the cases to be sent away.
“I haven’t been taken out of the investigation. My writ petition before the Bombay High Court requested that the case be investigated by a central agency such as the CBI or the NIA. As a result, a Special Investigations Team (SIT) has been created under the direction of a senior officer “Over the phone, he said to a news channel.
Sameer Wankhede has been at the centre of a big scandal after allegations from Nawab Malik and, more importantly, Prabhakar Sail, an NCB witness in the Aryan Khan case, cast doubt on his record and case handling.
The anti-drugs agency openly endorsed the senior officer last week, amid a barrage of criticism and scrutiny, citing a “impeccable service record… filled with honesty and integrity.”
However, the agency launched an internal investigation at the same time; a five-member team led by Deputy Director-General Gyaneshwar Singh visited Mumbai last week and took down Mr Wankhede’s statement, but left without speaking to Prabhakar Sail.
Mr Sail, who described himself as a “bodyguard,” filed an affidavit this month alleging that he overheard a conversation between his employer KP Gosavi (another agency witness whose selfie with Aryan after his arrest has raised more questions about the NCB’s case), Shah Rukh Khan’s manager Pooja Dadlani, and a Sam D’Souza.
Mr Sail said they negotiated an 18-crore arrangement, with Mr Wankhede receiving $8 million.
He also wrote to the Mumbai Police Department, claiming that he was being “framed” and that “precipitate legal action” was being taken against him. If the police intended to arrest him, he would be given three days’ notice.
Mr Wankhede also filed an affidavit, claiming that he was being “personally attacked” – a reference to Mr Malik’s unrelenting attacks, in which he has accused the NCB of fabricating a caste certificate and other documents in order to get a government post, among other things.
Mr Malik questioned Mr Wankhede’s honesty in his most recent attack (on Tuesday), referring to “shirts worth 50,000” and claimed that unverified WhatsApp exchanges between the officer’s sister (a lawyer) and a notorious drug smuggler were proof of a conspiracy.
Mr Wankhede said the conversations were part of a series in which his sister, Yasmeen Wankhede, turned down a representation offer because she didn’t handle drug matters.
Mr Malik responded to news of Mr Wankhede’s removal by tweeting, “This is just the beginning.”
“Sameer Wankhede was dismissed from five instances, including the Aryan Khan investigation. There are a total of 26 cases that need to be investigated. This is only the beginning… there is much more to be done to clean up this system, and we will “The minister, who is holding a press conference on Sunday, wrote.
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