New Delhi: An FIR has been registered against Indian Revenue Services (IRS) officer Sameer Wankhede — whose raid on a cruise ship last year had led to the arrests of actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan and others — on forgery and other charges.
The FIR was lodged at Kopari police station in Thane Saturday night on the basis of a complaint filed by the Maharashtra excise department, which alleged that Wankhede had posed as an adult while obtaining a license for the Sadguru Hotel in Thane in 1996-97 even though he was underage at the time.
Wankhede, who was Mumbai zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) during the Aryan Khan case, has been booked under IPC sections 181 (false statement on oath), 188 (disobedience to order), 420 (cheating and dishonesty), 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 481 (using false property mark).
Investigation by the local excise department had reportedly revealed that Wankhede was 17 years old on 27 October, 1997, when he was granted a license for a bar and restaurant, for which the stipulated age is 21. The bar’s license was cancelled earlier this month.
In January, Maharashtra cabinet minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik had approached the vigilance department of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs against Wankhede, seeking action against him for allegedly holding a permit room and bar license, contrary to government rules. “Is a central government servant eligible to hold and operate a permit room and bar license in his name?” he had asked.
High-profile probes & minister’s claims
Wankhede’s tenure with the NCB had ended in January after a four-month extension in August 2021. His services were then put at the disposal of his parent organisation, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
He had shot to fame during the Aryan Khan case, after which Nawab Malik had made several allegations against him, including that of forging his caste certificate, in response to which Wankhede had said that he was “pained by the slanderous attacks by Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik”.
After the minister alleged that Wankhede was a Muslim by birth and had produced a fake certificate to get a government job, Wankhede had said that he belonged to a “multi-religious and secular family”.
The minister had also called the 2021 cruise raid, which had led to Aryan Khan staying in custody for around a month, “fake”.
Wankhede was deputed to the NCB after actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death by hanging in June 2020, when names of several Bollywood celebrities had cropped up during investigations into a possible drugs angle. During his tenure, several high profile celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Rakulpreet Singh were questioned in connection with allegations of a drug nexus in Bollywood.
Wankhede was also accused by Malik of working for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The former NCB officer had arrested Malik’s son-in-law Sameer Khan in a narcotics case earlier. Following a war of words between Malik and Wankhede, the latter had written to the central government and Mumbai Police claiming that his movements were being tracked.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)