Indian Revenue Service officer and former Mumbai zonal director of Narcotics Control Bureau Sameer Wankhede has on September 5 filed an affidavit in the Bombay High Court, referring to an August 21 order of the Central Administrative Tribunal, in support of his May petition seeking quashing of the FIR registered by the CBI against him.
Relying upon the CAT’s order, Wankhede’s affidavit contended that the entire FIR is based upon then NCB’s Deputy Director General (Northern Region) Gyaneshwar Singh-led Special Enquiry Team (SET)’s report, which has been allegedly held to be unsustainable having been conducted by a person who could not be a judge in his own cause.
Wankhede, who is an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Officer of the 2008 batch, is currently serving as an Additional Commissioner under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
The affidavit submitted that “the FIR in question is liable to be quashed”.
The CBI FIR was lodged over allegations that he demanded Rs 25 crore bribe from actor Shah Rukh Khan for not implicating his son Aryan in the October 2021 Cordelia cruise drug bust case.
Wankhede’s affidavit referred to CAT’s August 21 order, which said, “Respondent No. 4 (Singh), in our opinion, being actively involved in the investigation could not have been a part of SET, which was constituted to hold an enquiry for the alleged procedural lapses on the part of officials during the seizure and follow up action in connection with the crime”.
“It is therefore clear that the SET was not only wrongfully constituted but the findings thereof were unsustainable. Further, the entire CBI FIR, being based on the said findings, is unsustainable especially when the said SET itself has been held to be wrongfully constituted,” Wankhede’s affidavit said.
It further submitted that the continuation of the case against him is “nothing but an abuse of the process of law and it is desirable and expedient in the ends of justice that same may be quashed”.
In its FIR registered on May 11, CBI has accused Wankhede and a few others of conspiring to extort Rs 25 crore from Shah Rukh Khan for not implicating his son Aryan in the drug bust case.
On October 3, 2021, Aryan Khan was arrested by the NCB following the alleged drug seizure on board the Cordelia cruise ship off the Mumbai coast. As the agency failed to substantiate charges against Aryan, he was granted bail by the Bombay high court three weeks later.
On May 19, the high court granted interim protection to Wankhede from any coercive action by CBI, which has subsequently been extended till September 7, after he had then offered to appear before the agency’s investigating officer and co-operate with the probe.