NCB orders probe into pay-off charge by Aryan case witness

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 | TN Raghunatha | Mumbai

Sameer Wankhede  fails to get court relief on allegation affidavit, lands in NCB HQ in Capital

In a major fallout of serious allegations of an extortion attempt made against its Mumbai Zonal chief Sameer Wankhede by a “panch witness” Prabhakar R Sail in the mid-sea drug bust case, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Monday ordered a vigilance enquiry against Wankhede, even as a Special NDPS court rejected the latter’s plea not to take cognisance of Sails charges against him.

Meanwhile, Wankhede arrived in Delhi on Monday night.

The NCB appointed its deputy director general (DDG) of northern region Gyaneshwar Singh to conduct the enquiry. Confirming that he would conduct the enquiry, Singh said, “We are a professional organisation and we are open for enquiry against any allegation against our staffers. The enquiry will be transparent and fair”.

Singh said that as part of the enquiry, the statements of Wankhede, Sail and others would be recorded, while the evidence given by the “panch witness” will be analysed”  and the report would be submitted to the NCB.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil said that Sail — who had on Sunday said that he faced threat to his life — had been provided security cover by the Mumbai Police. Walse-Patil’s announcement came after Sail went to the Mumbai Police Headquarters and met Jt Police Commissioner (Crime) Milind Bharambe seeking security for himself and his family.   

Sail’s sensational affidavit dated October 23 had caused considerable embarrassment to the anti-drug agency, prompting NCB Deputy Director-General, South West Region, Mutha Ashok Jain to issue a statement saying among other things, “…As some of the contents of the affidavit relate to the vigilance matters, I am hereby forwarding the affidavit to the Director General of Narcotic Control Bureau and requesting for further action”.

Mutha Jain had also said that Wankhede had categorically denied the allegations against him.

Alluding to the affidavit released to the media by Sail, “a witness who has given details of movements and activities on October 2” — the day the mid-sea bust was registered, Mutha Jain had also said, “As he is a witness in the case and as the case is before the honourable court and sub-judice, he needs to submit his prayer to the honourable court rather than (release it) through social media if he has anything to say. In addition, there are several vigilance related allegations against certain persons in the affidavit which are based on overhearing by Prabhakar”.

Meanwhile, in twin setbacks for Sameer Wankhede, a Special NDPS court on Monday rejected his plea urging it not to take cognisance of the allegations made by a “panch witness” regarding his alleged extortion attempt in the case. Sail had made a sensational claim about an alleged `8 crore pay-off attempt against Wankhede.

The Special Judge said  he could not pass ‘blanket orders’ restraining the courts from taking cognisance of Sail’s affidavit in which he has indirectly alleged about an pay-off attempt made on behalf of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to release the latter’s son Aryan.

The Special Court also noted the matter was sub-judice before the Bombay High Court and said that NCB was free to move the appropriate forum for remedies.

“Considering the relief claimed in the application, no such blanket orders can be passed. It is for the concerned court or authority to pass appropriate orders at the relevant stage. Moreover, matter is sub-judice before HC in bail applications in the same CR. Therefore no orders can be passed as prayed. Hence application is filed and disposed off, accordingly”, the Special Judge stated in his order.

 Maharashtra NCP Minister Nawab Malik alleged that Wankhede had submitted a fake caste certificate to get a Government job.

In his plea, Wankhede had, among other things, stated that Sail’s affidavit was an attempt to undermine the ongoing probe into the case.

In a related development, NCP leader Nawab Malik sought to corner Wankhede once again by alleging that the latter had submitted a “fake” caste certificate to get a government job.

Tweeting Wakhede’s purported birth certificate and marriage photo, Malik wrote:  ‘Yahanse shuru hua farziwada’ (the fraud started here) and ‘Pehchan Kaun’ (guess who).

The birth certificate shows the NCB chief’s name as ‘Sameer Dawood Wankhede’, while the picture is from his (Wankhede) first wedding with one Dr. Shabana Qureshi, and he later divorced her to get married with Marathi actress Kranti Redkar.

Malik claimed that as per the birth certificate, Wankhede was a born Muslim but allegedly appeared for the civic services (UPSC) exams through a reserved category and became an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer. “He has forged the documents to get reservations in the (civil services) examinations and job,” Malik alleged.

Meanwhile,  Sameer’s wife Kranti Redkar – who describes herself Maker of Kaakan, actor-entrepreneur. cinema and food lover on her twitter page – defended her husband by tweeting: “Me n my Husband Sameer r born Hindus.We hv never converted to any other religion. V respect all religions.Sameer’s father too is hindu married to my Muslim Mom in law who is no more.Sameer’s ex-marriage ws under special marriage act,divorced in 2016.Ours in hindu marriage act 2017”

Threatening to reveal more “evidence” against Wankhede, the NCP Minister reiterated that the entire cruiser party raid was “fake” and said that everything was being done to “malign” the Maharashtra government and “terrorise” Bollywood.

In his sensational affidavit, Sail has among other things said that Wankhede’s colleague had taken his signatures on 10 blank papers.

Among other things, Sail has made a serious allegation that he “overheard” Kiran Gosavi, for whom he works as a personal bodyguard” and who is also an “independent” witness in the case,  while talking one Sam D’Souza, as saying: “you put a bomb of Rs 25 crore, let’s settle for Rs 18 crore and give 8 crore to Sameer Wakhende”.

Gosavi is one of the nine independent witnesses in the mid-sea drug bust case in which SRK’s eldest son Aryan Khan and seven others were detained on October 2 and formally arrested on October 3.

Gosavi is an “absconding accused” booked for allegedly duping a Pune-based man on the pretext of offering a job in Malaysia.

Sali also stated in his affidavit that he had seen Pooja Dadlani (Shah Rukh Khan’s manager) talking to Gosavi. He also claimed that on  being told so by Gosavi, he went to a location some time later to collect Rs 50 lakh cash and that he collected “two bags filled with”.

Sail claimed that he carried the two bags of cash and delivered them to Sam D’souza near Trident Hotel in south Mumbai. “However, when he (Sam D’souza) counted the case, it was only Rs 38 lacs,” he stated in the affidavit.

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