Former NCB officer Sameer Wankhede, whose handling of the Mumbai drugs-on-cruise case was mired in several controversies, was on Monday transferred to Chennai. The development comes days after the Narcotics Control Bureau gave a clean chit to Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan, who was arrested by Wankhede and his team last year over an alleged drug seizure.
Wankhede, an Indian Revenue Service officer, has now been posted to the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence as the Director-General of Taxpayer Services. He was currently posted as the additional commissioner at the office of the director-general of analytics and risk management in Mumbai.
The central government had ordered action against the former Zonal Director of the NCB’s Mumbai office last week after Aryan Khan was given a clean chit. The government had at the time asked the competent authority to take appropriate action against Wankhede for his alleged “shoddy” investigation in the drugs-on-cruise case.
Officials of the NCB, which filed its chargesheet in a Mumbai court, said the names of Aryan and five others were not there due to “lack of sufficient evidence”.
Wankhede and his team had initially handled the probe into the drugs case after they raided a Cordelia cruise ship off the Mumbai coast and arrested Aryan Khan and 22 others on October 3 last year. Aryan was granted bail on October 28 by the Bombay High Court, which dismissed NCB’s arguments and said it can not just rely on WhatsApp messages to make such grave allegations.
Wankhede was later accused of corruption, following which the case was transferred to a Delhi-based SIT formed under its deputy director-general (operations) Sanjay Kumar Singh. On November 6 last year, the NCB headquarters removed Wankhede from the probe.
The SIT formed in the case might be filing a report with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to fix responsibility for conducting a shoddy probe in the matter, sources in the NCB said. The report will fix the responsibility of the officials who were involved in the investigation due to which Aryan Khan and others were given clean chit.
The MHA is keeping an eye on the matter.
(With agency inputs)