The Delhi High Court Wednesday granted protection from coercive action to former NCB officer Sameer Wankhede, booked by the CBI for allegedly demanding Rs 25 crore bribe to spare superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son in a drugs case, his lawyer said.
Advocate Shubhi Srivastava, who filed the petition on behalf of the former Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officer, said Justice Vikas Mahajan granted the protection from coercive steps for five days with the liberty to approach the appropriate forum, which would be the Bombay High Court.
Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan appeared for Wankhede, who has been summoned by the CBI for questioning on Thursday.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recently filed an FIR against Wankhede for allegedly seeking Rs 25 crore bribe for not framing the Bollywood star’s son Aryan Khan in the drugs-on-cruise case.
Aryan was arrested by the NCB on October 3, 2021 after a raid on the Cordelia cruise ship. He was granted bail by the Bombay High Court after three weeks as the agency failed to substantiate its charges against him.
The CBI has booked Wankhede and others for alleged criminal conspiracy and threat of extortion, besides under provisions pertaining to bribery under the Prevention of Corruption Act on a complaint from the NCB.
The CBI has alleged that the NCB, Mumbai Zone, had received information in October 2021 related to the consumption and possession of narcotics substances by various individuals on the private cruise ship and that some of its officers conspired and obtained undue advantage in the form of bribes from the alleged accused.
“It has been alleged that the said officials of the Narcotics Control Bureau of Mumbai Zone, in order to obtain undue advantage from the persons and others in the Case No. 94/2021… registered and investigated under the supervision of then Zonal Director of Mumbai Zone of NCB, had entered into criminal conspiracy with others and allegedly obtained undue advantage in the form of bribes from the alleged accused,” a CBI spokesperson said earlier.
“It has also been alleged that the said persons entered into conspiracy in order to extort an amount of Rs 25 crore (approx) from family members of the alleged accused of the case No. 94/2021 of NCB, Mumbai, by threatening them of the accusation of offences of possession of narcotics substances as per the alleged directions of then zonal director (Wankhede) being the supervisory officer,” he said.
The NCB on May 27 last year filed a 6,000-page chargesheet against 14 accused in the drugs-on-cruise case while giving a clean chit to Aryan.
NCB officials said Aryan and five others were not named in the agency’s chargesheet due to the “lack of sufficient evidence”.
Last year, the anti-drugs agency NCB had also instituted an inquiry after several lacunae were found in the probe of the alleged drug seizure from the cruise ship.
Indian Revenue Service officer Sameer Wankhede was the Mumbai Zonal Unit director of the bureau when the raid was conducted on the cruise.