Former Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officer Sameer Wankhede, booked by the CBI for allegedly trying to extort ₹25-crore bribe from superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s family to bail out his son Aryan Khan in a drugs case, went abroad and bought expensive watches without declaring them to his organisation.
The CBI booked ex-Mumbai zonal director of NCB Wankhede, his two colleagues — Suprintendent Vishwa Vijay Singh and Intelligence Officer Ashish Ranjan Prasad — and private persons KP Gosavi and Sanvile D’Souza for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to hurl threat of extortion for taking bribe from Khan family.
The CBI FIR is based on a complaint received from the NCB on May 11, requesting the anti-corruption agency to probe their officers’ alleged “improper/dishonest performance of duty” in the drug case.
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“He has also not declared the source of his foreign visits properly. It was also found that Wankhede has indulged himself in sale and purchase of expensive wrist watches with a private entity, Viral Rajan, without intimating the department (present or parent),” the NCB’s Special Enquiry Team (SET) which carried out the internal probe found out.
The SET report is the basis of the CBI FIR.
Sameer’s wife Kranti Redkar Wankhede, however, defended her husband by stating that allegations are wrong.
“Everyone knows that the allegations being levelled against him are wrong. These are just allegations and we are fully cooperating in the CBI proceedings. We have faith in law and order, and we are ready to cooperate with the investigating agency as responsible citizens,” Kranti Redkar Wankhede commented.
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NCB’s SET, in its extensive probe said that the first information note (I-Note), drafted under the supervision of the IRS officer Wankhede, had 27 names of suspects in the case of seizure of drugs on board Cordelia Cruise but later 17 of them were dropped to prepare a modified I-Note.
For instance, Arbaj A Merchant was allowed to walk free even though Shah had accepted that he got money from the former to buy charas (drug) for him, the NCB charged.
The NCB in its complaint to the CBI also stated that 2008-batch IRS officer Wankhede’s aides Gosavi and D’Souza had sought ₹25 crore from family members of Aryan Khan by threatening to book them of possession of narcotics substance.
“This amount was finally settled for ₹18 crore. A token amount of ₹50 lakh as bribe money was also taken by Gosavi and D’Souza but was later returned to Khan family members,” the NCB’s SET internal inquiry found out.
Aryan was formally arrested by the NCB on October 3, 2021, after a raid on the Cordelia cruise ship. After spending 25 days behind the bars, he was granted bail by the Bombay High Court and the NCB did not include his name in the NCB charge sheet due to lack of evidence.
Wankhede was placed under suspension and removed from the case before the CBI raids.