Published on: 13 May 2023 at 00:32 IST
CBI has booked Sameer Wankhede, who was heading the investigation in the Aryan Khan drug case, along with four others for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 25 crore from the owners of the Cordelia ship to release it after it was detained by the NCB in September 2020.
The other accused in the case include NCB zonal director Sameer Khan, hawala operator Prabhakar Sail, alleged drug peddler Jagtap Hussain and his associate Sheikh. They have been booked under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.
This development comes after Wankhede was accused by several individuals, including actress-models and politicians, of corruption, harassment and abuse of power in the Aryan Khan case. However, Wankhede has denied all the allegations and said that they were a result of a conspiracy against him.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case against Sameer Wankhede, the zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and four others for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 25 crore in connection with the investigation into the seizure of drugs on a cruise ship Cordelia involving Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son, Aryan Khan.
The case has been registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to criminal conspiracy and bribery, and relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI has also carried out searches at multiple locations in Mumbai, including the office and residence of Wankhede.
The development comes after a witness in the case, Prabhakar Sail, filed a complaint alleging that he was asked to pay the bribe on behalf of a detained accused in exchange for dropping his name from the case. The NCB has denied the allegations and said that it has full faith in the investigation process.
During the drug bust case on the Cordelia cruise, Sameer Wankhede, who is an IRS officer, was the chief of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Mumbai. He was in charge of a team of officers, including Vishwa Vijay Singh, that carried out a raid on the Cordelia ship situated off the coast of Mumbai on the night of October 2, 2021.
During the operation, NCB seized various drugs, including cocaine, mephedrone, marijuana, ecstasy pills, and cash worth Rs 1.33 lakh, and arrested 17 people, including Aryan Khan, from the Cordelia ship off the Mumbai coast on the night of October 2, 2021.
However, the investigation was criticized for being inadequate. Eventually, Aryan Khan was granted bail by the Bombay High Court on October 28, and another NCB team investigating the case did not file charges against him due to insufficient evidence.
Recently, NCB Superintendent Vishwa Vijay Singh, who was also part of the team that raided the Cordelia cruise and arrested Aryan Khan, was terminated from his position due to his involvement in another case in which he was suspended in April 2022.
Following the inquiry report, Singh was dismissed from his job. He also led a team of officers to Shah Rukh Khan’s residence Mannat as part of the investigation.