The father of the first wife of NCB's Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede on Thursday claimed that he always knew the Wankhede family as followers of Islam and that the name of the officer's father was Dawood.
Talking to reporters, Dr Zaheed Qureshi said that when his daughter Shabana married Sameer Wankhede, the latter practised Islam, and would occasionally visit mosques. He also said that he came know about Wankhede being a Hindu after a recent controversy over his birth certificate.
His claim came against the backdrop of Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik's allegations that Sameer Wankhede was born as a Muslim, but forged documents, including a caste certificate, to show that he belonged to the Hindu SC category to get a job under quota after clearing the UPSC examination.
After Mr Malik's allegation, the NCB officer had said that his father Dnyandev Kachruji Wankhede was a Hindu and his late mother Zaheeda was a Muslim. He said his father retired as senior police inspector of the state Excise department, Pune, in June 2007.
"We always knew the Wankhede family as followers of Islam. In fact, I always knew Dnyandev as Dawood Wankhede. We agreed to the marriage of my daughter Dr Shabana with Sameer because we had cordial relations with his late mother Zaheeda," Dr Qureshi said.
It was an arranged marriage between Dr Shabana and Sameer, which took place in 2006. However, after the divorce, as it was a painful thing for us and we never discussed it and buried it in our minds. We even moved on with our lives, he said.
When asked about how he came to know about Mr Wankhede's claim of being a Hindu, Mr Qureshi said, "After the controversy broke out about Sameer Wankhede and his birth certificate, my family came to know about it. In fact I knew late Zaheeda's husband's name as Dawood. I knew Sameer used to go to mosque occasionally."
Explaining his decision to break his silence over the matter, he said, "When Sameer claimed that he has been a Hindu since his birth, many people asked me how did I allow my daughter to marry him (a Hindu). It became an issue of prestige for me and my family. Hence I am making it clear that when the marriage between my daughter Shabana and Sameer Wankhede took place, the groom was practising Islam. His father's name was Dawood."
Two years after Mr Wankhede's marriage, he had secured a government job.
Responding to a question related to Mr Wankhede seeking a job under quota, Mr Qureshi said, "When Sameer got the job, nobody inquired how he bagged it. You generally don't go so deep into someone else's life. In those days, it was not even a practice to find out whether the job is sought through some quota or not."
Responding to the claim made by Sameer Wankhede's father that his name was Dyandev and not Dawood, he said, "All the documents shown by Dnyandev Wankhede are before his marriage with Zaheeda. He has not shown any document after his marriage. He accepted Islam then married to Zaheeda and lived a life of a normal Muslim."
"I have no idea how our personal photos and information has come out in media. We have done nothing or did not help anyone for it," he said.
Sameer Wankhede had earlier said that he married Dr Shabana Qureshi in 2006 under the Special Marriage Act. Both of them divorced mutually through a civil court in 2016. Later, in 2017, he married actor Kranti Redkar.
On Monday, Mr Malik had claimed that Mr Wankhede is a Muslim by birth, and alleged that by "hiding" his religion, he (Mr Wankhede) obtained fake documents and through this, the right of a backward class candidate was snatched.
However, Mr Wankhede had said that he belongs to a "composite, multi-religious and secular family in true Indian tradition" and he is proud of his heritage.
On Wednesday, the Qazi who had performed the first marriage of Sameer Wankhede, claimed the officer belonged to a Muslim family otherwise the ''nikah'' would not have been solemnised as per Islam.
An NCB team led by Mr Wankhede earlier this month allegedly seized drugs onboard a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast following which Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, was arrested on October 3.
Mr Malik has repeatedly termed the cruise drugs bust case as "fake".
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)