The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) informed the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that it has transferred from Mumbai to Delhi the probe into the alleged money laundering case registered against Sameer Wankhede, Indian Revenue Officer and former Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) zonal director.
The agency submitted that it transferred the case for “administrative reasons” and since the cause of action now lies in Delhi, Wankhede ought to move the Delhi High Court for any relief.
Last week, Wankhede had filed a petition in HC seeking to quash the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered by the ED. As interim relief, it sought a stay on the probe and protection from any coercive action, pending hearing in the petition.
During the hearing on Tuesday, Wankhede’s counsel Aabad Ponda told a division bench of Justices PD Naik and NR Borkar that the ED action of transferring the probe to Delhi was “malafide” and that he was being “shuttlecocked” between Mumbai and Delhi.
He submitted that till Saturday, February 9, ED was issuing summons to persons asking them to appear before its Mumbai office at Worli. “After this petition was filed by Wankhede, the probe has been transferred to Delhi,” Ponda said, alleging that this was to ensure that he doesn’t get a hearing on Thursday before the Bombay HC.
Last May, Wankhede had got protection from coercive action from the HC in the case registered by the CBI alleging extortion and corruption. The ED case stems from this CBI case.
However, ED counsel Hiten Venegaonkar emphasised that the transfer was done due to administrative reasons. “The entire proceedings is already transferred to Delhi. The entire cause of action lies there now. All papers have been sent to Delhi. There is nothing here now,” he said.
The bench said it would hear the matter on February 15 (Thursday) along with Wankhede’s petition filed last year against the CBI case.
The ED registered a money laundering case against Wankhede following a CBI FIR for allegedly demanding Rs25 crore from actor Shah Rukh Khan for not arresting his son Aryan Khan in Cordelia Cruise drug bust case in October 2021.
Wankhede, in his plea, had alleged that the ED’s case “smacks of malice and vendetta”. He had also alleged that the ECIR was filed last year but the summons were issued this year after he filed a complaint against NCB’s deputy director Gyaneshwar Singh last month before a Delhi court seeking action against him under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
He further alleged that Singh and few powerful people in power have unleashed all agencies like the CBI, ED and NCB to fix him in some case.