"Went With My Kids": Anti-Drugs Officer On 'Extortion In Maldives' Charge

Sameer Wankhede said Nawab Malik is a minister of the state who "has a system" and can get "investigations made".


Sameer Wankhede, the officer of the anti-drugs agency Narcotics Control Bureau investigating a number of Bollywood celebrities including megastar Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan, has brushed off questions about his Maldives visit raised by a Maharashtra minister. "I went to Maldives with my children," he told NDTV in an exclusive interview when asked about the questions raised by Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik.

Mr Malik has alleged that the officer was in Maldives during the lockdown when many Bollywood personalities were there too and it was there he was conducting an extortion racket. He has also alleged that the officer is acting at the behest of the BJP to discredit the Maharashtra government.

Mr Wankhede, who took over the drugs case after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June, told NDTV, said these were "bad allegations" and "lies".

"I did not go to Dubai. I went to Maldives. Not with my sister as the photo (tweeted by Nawab Malik) appears to indicate. I have gone with my children, with proper permission, legally and with my own money," he said, adding that the visit took place a couple of months ago, not during the lockdown but after it was lifted.  

The minister, he said, can verify everything since he has the official machinery. He also indicated that if the minister has evidence of what he was alleging, he can prepare a "presentation".

Nawab Malik, he said, is a minister of the state who "has a system" and can get "investigations made". Instead, allegations are being made against his family, the officer said earlier today.

"Personal attacks being made on us over the past 15 days. Attacks are being made on my deceased mother, sister and retired father. I strongly condemn this," the Zonal Director of the Narcotics Control Bureau said.

Nawab Malik has repeatedly claimed that the case related to the alleged recovery of banned drugs from a cruise ship earlier this month – which led to the arrest of Aryan Khan -- was "fake" and arrests were made just on the basis of WhatsApp chats.

"Attempts were made to implicate certain people in false cases," he told reporters this morning.  

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire film industry was in Maldives. What was the officer and his family doing in Maldives and Dubai?" the NCP spokesperson had said. "We are very clear. All this vasuli (extortion) took place in Maldives and Dubai and I will release those photos," said Mr Malik, whose son-in-law Sameer Khan was also arrested in a drugs case in January. He was granted bail last month.

Last week, NCP chief Sharad Pawar lashed out at the Centre, accusing it of using the NCB, the Enforcement Directorate, the CBI and the Income Tax Department to target opposition parties.