Sameer Wankhede | The hunter becomes the hunted – Cover Story News


The Special Enquiry Team report recommends disciplinary action against Sameer Wankhede by his parent organisation, the IRS

Sameer Wankhede; (Photo: Getty Images)

Controversy and the attendant spotlight have followed Sameer Wankhede ever since he joined as Mumbai zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) two years ago. Wankhede prided himself on taking on the rich and famous even when he served in the customs department and later at the NCB. He loved the good life, dressed well, wore fancy watches and in his personal life, had married again after divorcing his first wife, a Muslim doctor.

Controversy and the attendant spotlight have followed Sameer Wankhede ever since he joined as Mumbai zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) two years ago. Wankhede prided himself on taking on the rich and famous even when he served in the customs department and later at the NCB. He loved the good life, dressed well, wore fancy watches and in his personal life, had married again after divorcing his first wife, a Muslim doctor.

He shot into the limelight when he headed the team that probed the use of drugs by Bollywood star Sushant Singh Rajput—before he took his life in June 2020— and his ex-girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty. Wankhede’s team charged Rhea and her brother with posse ssion and consumption of drugs, apart from its sale, under sections of the NDPS Act that have provisions for severe jail sentences.

When Wankhede arrested Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, under charges of drug abuse, it created a national sensation. He made it out to be the biggest catch that painted Bollywood as a den of drug addicts and hinted its involvement with a huge narcotics cartel.

The NCB then decided to set up a Special Enquiry Team (SET) to investigate charges of corruption against Wankhede. With that, the hunter became the hunted.

His integrity, however, came under question after Nawab Malik, Maharashtra’s minorities minister, hurled a series of allegations against Wankhede, including that he had faked his caste certificate to become eligible for the quota reserved for scheduled castes in the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) batch of 2008, owns a restaurant with a bar licence and has assets disproportionate to his known income. The NCB then decided to set up a Special Enquiry Team (SET) to investigate charges of corruption against Wankhede. With that, the hunter became the hunted. India Today learnt that the SET has come up with the following disturbing findings about Wankhede:


COVER STORY | Lessons from the Aryan Khan case


  • That he took a loan from Viral Rajan, a Mumbai resident, of Rs 5.59 lakh to go for a holiday in the Maldives, where he stayed at the Taj Exotica. But while intimating the NCB, he claimed he spent Rs 1.25 lakh. The SET report pointed out that it was a violation of the code of conduct. While Rajan claimed that Wankhede had been returning the money in instalments, the SET found that this began only after Malik raised allegations about the loan.
  • Rajan admitted that Wankhede had sold him four watches—a Cartier worth Rs 10.6 lakh for Rs 6.4 lakh; a Tag Heuer priced at Rs 1.68 lakh for Rs 40,000, another watch of the same brand worth Rs 1.10 lakh for Rs 30,000, and an Omega worth Rs 1 lakh for Rs 30,000. In all, stated Rajan, Wankhede sold these watches, worth Rs 14.18 lakh for Rs 7.40 lakh. Rajan says he paid this amount through a cheque in favour of Wankhede’s wife, Kranti Redkar, an actor.
  • The SET found that Sameer Wankhede bought a Rolex for Rs 17.40 lakh, which he had not reported to the NCB. Wankhede told the SET that his wife had gifted it to him and that wearing “good clothes” was not corruption. The SET report goes into the possibility of his having disproportionate assets as compared to his known sources of income. His wife’s IT returns show a net income of Rs 21 lakh in the past three years. Sameer’s net income for the past two years was Rs 34 lakh. The SET pointed out that value of the two unreported trips and transactions Wankhede and his wife made totalled Rs 29.75 lakh, while their net income was Rs 45 lakh during that exact period.
  • The SET team found major lacunae and lapses on the part of Wankhede and his team while conducting the Cordelia cruise arrests, including no proper documentation regarding seizure of phones, allegations of taking away valuables without documentation, use of stock witnesses and claiming unrelated recoveries of drugs as a collective conspiracy.
  • The SET report stated that the allegations regarding Wankhede obtaining a false caste certificate and of having a bar permit licence since 1997 are being investigated by the ministry of home affairs and the Mumbai police, respectively. It recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Wankhede by his parent organisation, the IRS. Wankhede rejects all charges and says he has perfectly legitimate grounds on which to disprove all such allegations.

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