Sameer Wankhede Won't Be Arrested Till February 20: Probe Agency In Court

Sameer Wankhede filed a petition in the High Court last week seeking to quash the ED's case, a stay on the probe, and protection from any coercive action.

Sameer Wankhede Won't Be Arrested Till February 20: Probe Agency In Court

Sameer Wankhede is a 2008-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer (File/PTI)


The Enforcement Directorate told the Bombay High Court today that it would not arrest Sameer Wankhede, the former zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau's Mumbai unit, till February 20 in the money laundering case against him.

Mr Wankhede filed a petition in the High Court last week seeking to quash the ED's case and, by way of an interim order, stay on the probe and protection from any coercive action.

A division bench of Justices PD Naik and NR Borkar said that due to a paucity of time today and tomorrow and since courts are not working on February 19, it would not be able to hear the plea until February 20.

The bench said the matter needs to be heard at length and asked advocate Sandesh Patil, appearing for the ED, to state if the agency intends to arrest Mr Wankhede until then.

Mr Patil, after seeking instructions from the officials concerned, told the court the agency would not arrest Mr Wankhede till February 20.

The bench accepted the statement and posted the plea for hearing on February 20.

Mr Patil submitted to the court that since the ECIR has been transferred to the ED's Delhi office, Mr Wankhede should approach the court there as the cause of action lies in that jurisdiction.

Mr Wankhede's counsel Aabad Ponda, however, said when the IRS officer had moved the Delhi court against the CBI's corruption and extortion case, which is the predicate offence (based on which ED launched its probe), he was asked to approach the Mumbai court.

Mr Ponda further said his client was granted interim protection by the High Court last year from coercive in the CBI case and this continues.

The ED registered a money laundering case against Mr Wankhede after taking cognisance of a CBI FIR over an alleged Rs 25 crore bribe demand from Shah Rukh Khan's family to spare his son in a drugs case.

Mr Wankhede, a 2008-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer of the Customs and Indirect Taxes cadre, said in his plea that the ED's case "smacks of malice and vendetta".

Mr Wankhede claimed while the ECIR was registered last year, summons have been issued now to some NCB officers after he filed a complaint against NCB's deputy director Gyaneshwar Singh last month before a Delhi court, seeking action under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

He further alleged Mr Singh and a few powerful people unleashed agencies like the CBI, ED, and the NCB to fix him in some cases.

Mr Wankhede was charged by the CBI in May last year on charges of seeking a Rs 25-crore bribe for not framing Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan in the drugs-on-cruise case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charged Mr Wankhede and others for alleged criminal conspiracy (120-B IPC), and threat of extortion (388 IPC) besides provisions on bribery under the Prevention of Corruption Act on a complaint from the NCB.

Aryan Khan was arrested in the alleged drug bust case on the Cordelia cruise ship on October 2, 2021. Later, the NCB filed a charge sheet in the drugs-on-cruise case against 14 accused but gave a clean chit to Aryan Khan.

The much-hyped case took a twist when an 'independent witness' claimed in 2021 that Rs 25 crore was demanded by an NCB official and others to let off Aryan Khan.

The NCB later conducted an internal vigilance probe against Mr Wankhede and others and shared the contents with the CBI leading to the registration of a case against him.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)