Money Laundering Case: ED Tells Bombay HC It Won’t Arrest Sameer Wankhede Till March 1st

The ED on Tuesday has told the Bombay High Court that it will extend its previous statement that it wouldn’t arrest Sameer Wankhede till March 1 in a money laundering case.

Wankhede was the former zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau.

A division bench of Justices PD Naik and NR Borkar accepted the statement and posted Wankhede’s petition against the case on March 1.

The bench directed the probe agency to produce a copy of the ECIR (complaint) on that day.

The ED registered a money laundering case against Wankhede after taking cognizance of an FIR by the CBI in an alleged Rs.25 crore bribe demand from family of superstar Shah Rukh Khan to spare his son in a drugs case.

Earlier this month, Wankhede filed a petition in the high court seeking to quash the ED’s case and, through an interim order, sought protection from any coercive action and a stay on the probe.

Last week the probe agency stated that it wouldn’t arrest Wankhede till February 20 (Tuesday).

The ED’s advocate, Sandesh Patil, told the court that the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta will appear in the case and sought an adjournment.
Patil told the court, “My earlier statement of no arrest or coercive action would stand extended till the time the plea is taken up for hearing.”

Therefore, the bench accepted the statement and posted the plea for hearing on March 1.

The court also adjourned till March 27 another petition filed by Wankhede last year against the case of extortion and bribery registered against him by the CBI.

In his plea against the money laundering case, the 2008-batch Indian Revenue Service officer stated that the ED’s case “smacks of malice & vendetta”.

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.

Furthermore, he alleged that Singh and a few powerful people have unleashed agencies, including the CBI, ED and NCB, to fix him in some case.

Wankhede was booked 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.

Wankhede and others were booked under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 388 (threat of extortion) of the IPC besides provisions under the Prevention of Corruption Act on a complaint from the NCB.

Previously on October 2, 2021, Aryan Khan got arrested in the alleged drug bust case on the Cordelia cruise ship.

Later, the NCB filed a chargesheet in the drugs-on-cruise case against 14 accused but gave a clean chit to Aryan.

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 Wankhede and others and shared the contents with the CBI leading to the registration of a case against him.

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About the Author: Meera Verma