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Scheduled Caste panel seeks report after Sameer Wankhede alleges ‘harassment’ by NCB officer

NCB officer Gyaneshwar Singh had headed a probe that found irregularities in Wankhede's work on Aryan Khan case. Scheduled caste panel has sought report from MHA, amongst others.

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Mumbai: Sameer Wankhede, the former Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) official who headed the probe in the Rhea Chakraborty and Aryan Khan cases, has moved the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), alleging harassment by NCB deputy director-general (DDG) Gyaneshwar Singh. The DDG had headed a vigilance probe that found irregularities in Wankhede’s investigation of the Aryan Khan case. 

In a letter dated 18 October, the NCSC said that it had received a complaint against Singh over his “vendetta” against Wankhede. The letter, which ThePrint has seen, was addressed to the secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), chairman of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), and the director-general of the NCB.

The NCSC letter further states that a report must be submitted “within 15 days” in this regard.

Speaking to ThePrint, Wankhede confirmed that he moved the commission on 5 September but refused to give more details.

“I cannot comment on the official matter since it is seized by the commission. And I have full faith in the honourable commission and the central government,” he said.

He did, however, add: “Since Babasaheb Ambedkar was humiliated, and a Dalit family was continuously exploited and humiliated for a year, this made me approach the honourable NCSC.”

In August, the Mumbai City District Caste Scrutiny Committee had given a clean chit to Sameer Wankhede amid allegations that he was using a fake caste certificate to secure a job under the SC quota. It also dismissed complaints filed by former Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik and three activists who had contended that Wankhede did not belong to the Mahar caste and sought the revocation of his caste certificate.

ThePrint has e-mailed the NCSC under secretary Kishan Chand for a comment, and this article will be updated when a response is received.

When contacted by ThePrint, Gyaneshwar Singh refused to comment on the issue.


Also Read: White residue, ‘Talc’ WhatsApp group, hawala — how Rs 21,000-cr Mundra drug bust was ‘cracked’


Wankhede and the Aryan Khan case

On Tuesday, the NCB’s vigilance team probing the Cordelia cruise drugs case, in which popular Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan was arrested last year, submitted its inquiry report at the Delhi headquarters stating that “many shortcomings were found in the investigation”. 

The NCB team said that a 3,000-page inquiry report submitted to the agency’s chief in July mentioned that there were lapses on the part of seven to eight officers in not just the Aryan Khan investigation, but two other cases as well, all probed by Sameer Wankhede, who was then the NCB’s Mumbai zonal director, and his team.

The vigilance department of the NCB found irregularities in the Cordelia cruise ship drug bust probe led by Wankhede in October last year, in which Aryan Khan was arrested along with 19 others. The department has recommended action against these officers.

Aryan Khan had to spend 28 days in jail before he was granted bail by the Bombay High Court.

In May, Wankhede was transferred to the office of the Director General of Taxpayers’ Services (DGTS) in Chennai, a part of CBIC. A 2008-batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), Wankhede had been on deputation to the NCB from September 2020 to December 2021.

A special investigation team (SIT) under NCB’s then DDG Sanjay Kumar Singh re-investigated the entire case and initial arrests made by Wankhede’s team. The team later gave a clean chit to Aryan Khan in the matter. In May, the Centre ordered a departmental inquiry against Wankhede for the “shoddy probe” at the time the NCB SIT gave the clean chit to Aryan Khan.

(Edited by Anumeha Saxena)


Also Read: No medical test to confirm drug use, no phone seizure memo — why Aryan Khan got NCB clean chit


 

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