Wankhede, an IRS officer of the 2008 batch, claimed the threat of jail and dismissal have been issued against him on public media by highly respectable public functionaries

File image of Sameer Wankhede. PTI

Narcotics Control Bureau’s Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede on Sunday approached the Mumbai Police commissioner seeking protection from likely legal action ”being planned” against him by unknown persons to falsely frame him concerning an alleged vigilance related issue.

In his single-page letter addressed to Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale, Wankhede, who is at the centre of controversy surround the arrest of actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan in a drugs case, stated he came to know that some ”precipitate” legal action for falsely implicating him is being planned by unknown persons in relation to the alleged vigilance related issue in NCB Cr. N. 94/2021.

He further mentioned that Deputy Director General (DDG) Mutha Ashok Jain has already referred the said matter to the Director General (DG) of NCB for necessary action.

Without taking names, Wankhede, an IRS officer of the 2008 batch, claimed the threat of jail and dismissal have been issued against him on public media by highly respectable public functionaries.

He requested the police commissioner to ensure that no such precipitate legal action is carried out to frame him falsely with ulterior motives.

This comes just hours after an independent witness in the drugss case claimed that an official of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and some other persons demanded Rs 25 crore from Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to release his son Aryan Khan in the case.

Prabhakar Sail, a witness in the case, told mediapersons that NCB officials also asked him to sign nine to ten blank papers.

However, a senior NCB official denied the allegations, terming them as “completely false and malicious”. NCB’s zonal director Sameer Wankhede earlier this month led the agency’s ‘drug bust’ on a cruise ship following which Aryan Khan was arrested on October 3. He is currently lodged in the Arthur Road jail here.

Recently, the Pune police issued a lookout circular against K P Gosavi, another independent witness of the NCB in the cruise drugs case who used to offer people jobs abroad, in a 2018 cheating case. On Sunday, Sail alleged that an official of the NCB, Gosavi and another person, named Sam D’Souza, had demanded Rs 25 crore from Shah Rukh Khan to release his son.

Sail, who is the personal bodyguard of Gosavi and accompanied him on the night of the raid, said after Aryan Khan was brought to the NCB office, Gosavi met D’Souza. Sail claimed he heard Gosavi telling D’Souza over phone about a demand of Rs 25 crore and to settle at Rs 18 crore as they “have to give Rs eight crore to Sameer Wankhede”.

The NCB, while stating that Wankhede has categorically denied the allegations, also said that as the matter is sub judice, Sail should have submitted his prayer to the court if he had anything to say. Mumbai NCB’s Deputy Director General (DDG) Mutha Ashok Jain issued a statement saying that he came to know through social media that Sail is a witness in the case.

“As he (Sail) is a witness in the case and the case is before the honourable court and is sub judice, he needs to submit his prayer to the court rather than through social media if he has anything to say,” the statement said.

In addition, there are certain vigilance-related allegations against certain persons in the affidavit, which are based on overhearing by Prabhakar Sail, it said.

“Zonal Director of Mumbai NCB Sameer Wankhede has categorically denied these allegations. As some of the contents of the affidavit are related to vigilance matter, we are hereby forwarding the affidavit to the Director

General (DG) NCB and requesting him for further necessary action,” the statement added. Meanwhile, Maharashtra minister and NCP spokesman Nawab Malik, who has repeatedly termed the cruise drugs bust case as “fake”, said Sail’s claims were “very serious” and demanded a probe into it by a Special Investigation Team (SIT).

Talking to reporters in Beed, Malik reiterated his allegation that Wankhede was involved in “extortion and terrorising the Mumbai film industry”, and said he will meet the chief minister and home minister on Monday in Mumbai seeking a SIT probe into Sail’s claims.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut in a tweet said, “Witness in AryanKhan case made to sign on blank paper by NCB is shocking. Also there are reports that there was demnd of huge money. CM UddhavThackeray said that these cases are made to defame Maharashtra. This seems to be coming true. Police should take suo moto cognizance.”

Maharashtra Congress spokesman Atul Londhe said Sail’s allegation substantiated the party’s charge that Central agencies were being against the Opposition parties. He demanded that the Supreme Court take appropriate action against the misuse of agencies politically.

With inputs from agencies

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