NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede will not be arrested without giving him three days’ notice after he moved the court seeking protection, the Mumbai Police assured the Bombay High Court on Thursday. Wankhede filed a petition and sought an urgent hearing, saying he feared arrest by police over allegations of extortion against him in the case related to an alleged drug bust on a cruise ship involving actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan khan. His lawyer and senior advocate Atul Nanda mentioned the petition before a bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and S V Kotwal, seeking interim protection from arrest.
Wankhede was a senior officer of the Narcotics Control Bureau and not a “drug peddler”, the lawyer said.
Besides a direction to police not to arrest him, the petition sought that the allegations against him be probed by an independent agency such as the Central Bureau of Investigation or National Investigating Agency.
Wankhede feared that the Mumbai police’s probe against him was likely to be biassed and unfair, it said. He was a “decorated officer” of the NCB who was being subjected to “public vilification” following Aryan Khan’s arrest, the petition said.
“Ever since the said investigation (into Khan’s case) has commenced, the Petitioner has been systematically been made the target of public vilification and private harassment by vested interests using the powerful medium of persons holding public office in the very Government of the day,” it said.
The police’s probe against him was “occasioned due to a clear program by the Respondent State (Maharashtra government) to implicate the Petitioner in false cases,” the petition alleged.
Wankhede also challenged the Mumbai police’s decision to set up a four-member team to investigate the allegations against him.
Nawab Malik’s allegations against Wankhede
NCP leader Nawab Malik in TV interviews made allegations against Wankhede regarding the investigation of the Aryan Khan case, claimed that the raid on the cruise ship was fake, alleged extortion and questioned the officer’s integrity, the petition said. “So much so that the mobile number of the Petitioner was intentionally flashed after which he started receiving many unwanted calls,” it claimed.
Chief public prosecutor Aruna Pai, who appeared for the police, opposed the request for interim protection from arrest, saying it was “premature,” as the inquiry had just begun and no FIR had been registered yet.
The high court asked if the police were willing to state that they will not arrest the NCB official.
It also asked prosecutor Pai about a provision of the Prevention of Corruption Act which says that approval of the central government must be taken before initiating any inquiry against a central government official. Pai took instructions from the police authorities and assured that “three working days’ notice will be given (to Wankhede) before arrest by Mumbai Police.”
The bench accepted the statement and disposed of the petition. It also made it clear that it had not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case or allegations against Wankhede.
Complaint by Jayesh Wani
With the latest complaint filed by a lawyer Jayesh Wani, the number of cases against Wankhede, who is allegedly involved in the extortion case, has gone up to five. Earlier today, the lawyer representing the state government informed the Bombay High Court that there are four different complaints against him.
In his Complaint to the MRA Marg Police station of Mumbai, Wani alleged, “He (Wankhede) has availed the benefits of SC reservation illegally and that is why he an FIR against him be registered under sections 406, 409, 420, 468 and 120 (b) of IPC.”
“His father changed his religion before Sameer’s birth,” the complaint said.
Sameer Wankhede’s wife writes to Maharashtra CM
Sameer Wankhede’s wife Kranti Redkar Wankhede on Thursday wrote to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urging justice, citing the “continued attack into her family’s personal life”.
Kranti Redkar has also sought time from the Maharashtra CM to meet him but has not received any response yet.
In her letter to Uddhav Thackeray, Sameer Wankhede’s wife said, “I grew up as a Marathi girl in view of Shiv Sena fighting for the justice of Marathi man since childhood. Learned from Balasaheb Thackeray and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj that we must not do injustice to anyone, do not tolerate injustice on yourself.”
“I am standing alone against those who are attacking my personal life privately every day on social media. We are being insulted by people every day. A woman’s dignity is being toyed with in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s state. Had Balasaheb been here today, he would not have liked it,” her letter in Marathi read.
Also Read: ‘Had Balasaheb been alive…’: NCB officer Sameer Wankhede’s wife seeks support from Uddhav
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