Who is Sameer Wankhede, the crucial figure in Aryan's case?
The arrest of Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan in the Mumbai cruise drugs case has become one of the most-followed news items. While some have patted Narcotics Control Bureau's (NCB) back for raiding the high-profile cruise, others have brought forth complaints of irregularities in investigation. And, NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede has often found himself at the center of attacks. Here's why he's important.
Currently, NCB has ordered vigilance probe against him
To explain Wankhede's connection to the case, he is leading the Mumbai Cordelia Cruises drugs bust case and he looked over the raid conducted by the central agency on the ship on October 2. Now, he is facing serious allegations of demanding money from Khan in return for releasing Aryan. Wankhede has denied the claims but NCB has ordered a vigilance probe against him.
NCB Deputy Director General to conduct inquiry
The allegations came to light when an NCB witness in this case, Prabhakar Sail, alleged he was asked to sign on blank papers by the anti-drugs body after the raid. Sail said in his affidavit that Wankhede demanded Rs. 8cr for Aryan's release. The officials have submitted a report to NCB Deputy Director General Gyaneshwar Singh on the matter and inquiry will soon begin.
Wankhede became an Indian Revenue Service officer in 2008
So, who is Wankhede exactly? An Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer of the 2008 batch, Wankhede hails from Washim district in Maharashtra's Vidarbha region. Before clearing the Civil Services Exam, he was posted in Andhra Pradesh working for the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Born to a police officer father, he is married to Marathi actress Kranti Redkar and the couple is parents to twin daughters.
He joined NCB right in the heat of SSR case
Following short stints in airport customs and the Central Excise department, Wankhede was sent on deputation to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2014. Later, he became the Joint Director at the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) before joining NCB on deputation in 2020, right when things were heating up in the drugs angle of Sushant Singh Rajput's death case.
'It's not like I target celebrities'
This isn't the first time Wankhede's name has emerged in relation to celebrities. Refuting claims that he purposefully targets stars, Wankhede told a portal recently: "It's not like I go out of the way to target celebrities. I just follow the rule book." "If a person who is well-known does something wrong, should we let that person go?" he questioned further.