Bombay HC Provides Relief To Sameer Wankhede In Drugs Case Related To Sushant Singh Rajput’s Death

Bombay HC Provides Relief To Sameer Wankhede In Drugs Case Related To Sushant Singh Rajput’s Death

Chavan emphasised that action taken by Wankhede in both the cases was after approval from Singh and other superior officers.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Monday, April 01, 2024, 10:08 PM IST
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Former Mumbai NCB chief Sameer Wankhede | ANI

In a relief for Sameer Wankhede, the Bombay High Court on Monday said no coercive steps shall be taken till April 10 against the former NCB zonal director in connection with the notices issued to him on the preliminary inquiry set up by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) over irregularities in the drugs probe related to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. 

The NCB had initiated preliminary inquiry against Wankhede in connection with the drug case related to Rajput’s death and another case, which were probed by him, after it (NCB) received anonymous complaints of irregularities in the probe. 

The anti narcotic agency had issued eight notices to Wankhede between November 2023 and March 2024 asking him to appear before NCB’s deputy director general Sanjay Singh, who is heading the inquiry.

The IRS officer approached the HC last week challenging the inquiry and the notices issued to him claiming that he was being targeted and that the inquiry was an “act of vengeance”. 

On Monday, a division bench led by Justice Revati Mohite-Dere directed the NCB to reply to Wankhede’s plea by April 10. Until then, the court  has said that no coercive action shall be taken Wankhede.

Wankhede's Counsel Challenges Inquiry Headed By Sanjay Singh

Wankhede’s counsel Rajiv Chavan told the court that Singh cannot head the inquiry against Wankhede as the latter used to take approacals from Singh, who was his superior then. “While probing these cases, including the one related to Sushant Singh Rajput, Wankhede who was at the time the agency’s western region zonal director, used to take approvals from Singh, who was his superior officer. Hence, now Singh cannot head this inquiry,” Chavan submitted. 

Chavan emphasised that action taken by Wankhede in both the cases was after approval from Singh and other superior officers.

However, the NCB’s advocate Manisha Jagtap opposed the plea contending that Wankhede cannot choose and pick which officer would conduct the inquiry against him.

Sameer Wankhede Challenges NCB's Inquiries Based On Anonymous Complaints

Wankhede’s plea also claims that the NCB cannot initiate such inquiries based on anonymous complaints.

His plea contends that the drugs case lodged agianst him after Rajput’s death, was lodged on a complaint allegedly submitted by actor Sapna Pabbi who is in fact shown as a wanted accused in the chargesheet filed in the case. “To rely upon the allegations made by a wanted accused is nothing short of outrageous and a desperate attempt by the NCB to legitimise an anonymous complaint manufactured solely for the purpose of injuring the petitioner (Wankhde) in mind, body and repute,” his plea adds. 

IRS Officer Sameer Wankhede Seeks Relief in Corruption and Extortion Cases

In May 2023, a corruption and extortion case was registered by the CBI against Wankhede, a 2008-batch IRS officer of the Customs and Indirect Taxes cadre, for allegedly demanding Rs25 crore not to frame actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan in the Cordelia cruise drug but case of October 2021. 

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) also later lodged a money laundering case against him.

Wankhede has doubt wuashing of both the cases before the HC in which he had been granted interim protection from any coercive action.

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