The high profile drug seizure case off the coast of Mumbai has thrust not just Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan in the limelight but it has also brought inordinate attention on the Zonal Director of the Narcotics Control Bureau’s Mumbai unit head Sameer Wankhede, who led the raid resulting in Khan’s arrest.
Nationalist Congress Party’s Nawab Malik seized on the opportunity to launch a campaign against Sameer Wankhede, raising questions on his integrity and alleging that the raid on the cruise ship was fake. Malik had alleged that Wankhede had extorted money from Bollywood stars earlier during the pandemic, a claim that is vigorously contested by the embattled officer.
A day after Sameer Wankhede found himself in the eye of a raging storm when independent witness Prabhakhar Sail alleged that Rs 25 crore was demanded on behalf of the officer to let off Aryan Khan in the Mumbai cruise drugs case, Nawab Malik has launched a scathing attack against Wankhede, accusing him of committing forgery.
Malik on Monday morning tweeted a picture of a document related to Mr. Wankhede’s birth and claimed, “the forgery began from here”.
Sameer Dawood Wankhede का यहां से शुरू हुआ फर्जीवाड़ा pic.twitter.com/rjdOkPs4T6— Nawab Malik نواب ملک नवाब मलिक (@nawabmalikncp) October 25, 2021
As per the birth certificate released by Nawab Malik, Sameer Wankhede was a Muslim by birth but appeared for civil services examination in reserved category and became the IRS. As per Malik, Wankhede forged his birth certificate to pass the exams and land a job through reservations.
Journalist claims Sameer Wankhede had married twice: What we know so far
Malik also shared an image, allegedly of Mr. Wankhede, and cryptically asked, “Identify him”.
New Indian Express journalist Sudhir Suryawanshi then shared an image of stating that Wankhede had gotten married twice, the first one with one Dr Shabana Khureshi on December 12, 2006, and with whom he reportedly had two children. The journalist claimed Kranti Redkar is her second wife and he is also a close relative of NCP’s Nawab Malik.
Twist in the @narcoticsbureau Director #SameerWakhende saga, Sameer Dawood Wankhede got married in Dec 12, 2006 with Dr Shabana Khureshi & has two daughters. Kranti Redkar ishis second spouse. He also happens to be distance relative of NCP minister Nawab Malik. @NewIndianXpress pic.twitter.com/qoeMOputAw— Sudhir Suryawanshi (@ss_suryawanshi) October 25, 2021
NCB officer refutes allegations made by Nawab Malik
However, Wankhede has reportedly rubbished the allegations levelled against him, terming Malik’s comment as “shoddy”. “This is a shoddy attempt to bring in things that are unrelated to the drugs case. My mother was a Muslim. Why does he want to bring my dead mother into this?” Wankhede was quoted as saying by the agencies.
“To check my caste and background, anyone can visit my native place and verify my descent from great-grandfather. But he should not indulge in smear campaigns before getting the facts straight. I will fight all this legally and do not want to comment too much on this out of court,” the NCB officer said, according to the sources.
Wankhede lodges complaint of being stalked during his visits to kabristan
It is worth noting that Wankhede had recently has lodged a complaint with the state police and Union government, stating that he is being stalked. Wankhede had complained that he has learnt from his sources that someone has been following him even to a Kabristan in western suburbs, which he regularly visits to pray at his mother’s grave.
Wankhede’s mother had passed away in 2015 and since then he has been frequenting the Kabristan to offer his prayers.
Ever since Shah Rukh Khan’s son is caught in the cruise ship drugs case, a concerted attempt is made to tarnish his reputation and shift the attention from the culpability of those accused in the case to the Narcotics officer who led the raid. As a part of this campaign, Sameer Wankhede’s personal life is scrutinised threadbare—be it his dead mother or his personal relationships—focus is shifted on inconsequential things so that his actions in the Mumbai drugs case can be undermined.
Sameer Wankhede, a seasoned IRS officer with considerable experience in investigating high profile cases
However, officer Wankhede is not a novice when it comes to high profile investigations. He has also investigated the Sushant Singh Rajput case after the drug angle was revealed and probed Rhea Chakraborty and others involved in the case.
Sameer Wankhede, a 2008 batch IRS-C&CE officer, was previously posted as Joint Director of Revenue Intelligence in Mumbai. He also held the post of Additional SP in NIA and Deputy Commissioner in AIU. Wankhede’s first posting was as a Customs Officer at Mumbai Airport. He was also honored by the Union Home Ministry with the award of Outstanding Investigation for the year 2021.
Sameer Wankhede’s team has seized drugs worth Rs 17,000 crore in the last two years of investigation. According to reports, Wankhede also filed cases against more than 2000 celebrities for not paying tax in customs. Sameer Wankhede also caught Mika Singh with foreign currency at Mumbai airport in 2013 and raided the houses of many Bollywood celebs including Anurag Kashyap, Vivek Oberoi, Ram Gopal Varma.
Shortly after Aryan Khan was arrested in the case, the media glare shifted to his wife Kranti Redkar, an actor by profession but who had no connection with the drug case. When she was accosted about her husband’s recent raids, Kranti Redkar said, “Sameer has always been a hard worker. His operations and cases were there even before too. Today, he is dealing with Bollywood-related drug probe cases, which is why it is getting highlighted. I give him his space when he is investigating or working on operations. I never ask him what happened, how it happened because I respect the secrecy of his job. I take care of everything at home, which is why he can concentrate on his cases more.”
NCB recovers drugs from cruise ship off the coast of Mumbai
After the raid on the cruise Ship rave party, NCB seized a huge amount of narcotics and detained 10 people. The ship was supposedly going from Mumbai to Goa. According to reports, every person present in that party had paid a entry fee of more than 80 thousand rupees. As per sources, Mumbai Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede and other NCB officials acted on an intelligence input and boarded the ship as normal passengers and carried out the operation.
Following the raid, there have been allegations that Wankhede is selectively targeting Aryan Khan. However, he said in a statement, “We are not targeting anyone at all. We have nothing against him. We have arrested more than 300 people in the last 10 months. Out of those, at the most, there would be about 4 to 5 known people. How can you say that we are targeting anyone? Most of those arrested in the last one year are hard-core, drug related criminals.”