Former Mumbai NCB Zonal Director and IRS officer Sameer Wankhede, accused in a cruise 'drug bust' bribery case, claims he and his wife have received death threats. Wankhede has written to the Mumbai police commissioner seeking police security.
Wankhede, family receiving threats due to recent media coverage
"Due to recent media coverage, animosity against the Wankhede family has intensified, resulting in dangerous and serious threats over the past four days. These threats were issued from multiple phone numbers. Wankhede has written to the Mumbai Police Commissioner, alerting him about the threats and requesting security," a reliable source close to the IRS officer said.
CBI is expected to question Wankhede on Wednesday.
Wankhede was questioned for over five hours over the weekend by the CBI, investigating the alleged ₹25 crore bribe demand from actor Shah Rukh Khan to avoid implicating his son Aryan in the drug bust case.
Wankhede, four others booked by CBI
The CBI filed a case against Wankhede and four others, including VV Singh (NCB Superintendent), intelligence officer Ashish Ranjan, and two private individuals KP Gosavi and Sanvile D'souza, on May 11. The charges include alleged criminal conspiracy, threat of extortion, and bribery under the Prevention of Corruption Act, based on a complaint filed by the NCB.
On the previous Friday, Wankhede received relief from the Bombay High Court, which instructed the CBI not to take any "coercive action," against him, including arrest, until May 22.
He seeks quashing of FIR from HC
Wankhede had approached the HC seeking the quashing of the FIR, alleging that the initial "draft complaint" in the 2021 drugs-on-cruise case listed Aryan Khan as an accused, but later his name was removed and dropped from the complaint.
Aryan Khan was arrested by the NCB on October 3, 2021, in connection with the alleged drug seizure on board the Cordelia cruise ship. However, he was granted bail by the high court three weeks later due to the agency's failure to substantiate the charges against him.
According to the CBI, the NCB's Mumbai zone received information on October 2021 regarding the consumption and possession of narcotics by several individuals on the cruise ship. The CBI further alleged that certain NCB officers conspired to extort bribes from the accused in exchange for leniency.
Wankhede attaches chats with SRK to prove 'integrity'
Wankhede strongly denied the allegations made against him. In his petition to the HC, he presented transcriptions of phone conversations with Shah Rukh Khan during the time when Aryan was in NCB custody. The transcripts highlighted Khan's pleas for kindness towards his son and praised Wankhede for his “uprightness”.
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