In a strange quirk of fate, Wankhede is a name that returns to haunt King Khan once more. After the fracas of Shahrukh Khan mouthing abuses in drunken stupor a few years back at Wankhede Stadium, this time another Wankhede has crossed the path of a family living at one of the most iconic addresses in India “ Mannat” in Mumbai.
The officer who raided the offshore rave party on a cruise ship in the Mumbai Sea and apprehended Shahrukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan among eight others on the charges of possessing and consuming prohibited drugs is Sameer Wankhede.
Born on December 14, 1979, Wankhede is a 2008 batch IRS officer with Indian Customs and presently on deputation to NCB – Narcotics Control Bureau. Before his present posting as Zonal Director of NCB, his earlier postings include at Mumbai Airport, Deputy Commissioner of Air Intelligence Unit (AIU), Additional SP of National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Joint Commissioner of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
Sameer Wankhede is the recipient of the Union Home Minister’s medal for excellence in an investigation in August 2021, constituted in 2018 to promote high professional standards of investigation of crime and to recognise such excellence in an investigation by investigating officers He has confiscated drugs worth Rs 17,000 crore in last two years
Limelight seems to be coming looking for Sameer Wankhede with repeated vigour, time and again. Of late, Sameer Wankhede has been a steady ingredient in the heady cocktail of drugs, Bollywood, media, and law enforcement agencies during these TRP-induced feverish times. It was Sameer Wankhede who probed Rhea Chakraborty after the suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput which saw the country polarised on drug conspiracy link and presented nauseating media trial of the worst kind. Sameer Wankhede is seen as a man on a clean-up spree to bring out the Bollywood-drugs nexus.
As an officer, Sameer Wankhede has a reputation of a stubborn kind who would hold his position dictated by rules unbudgingly. Under his tenure, even the cricket World Cup trophy was let past customs at Mumbai Airport only after the customs duty was paid as it was made of Gold.
While serving in the Customs department, he did not give custom clearance to many celebrities until they disclosed the goods bought in foreign currency and paid tax on it. In 2013 he caught singer Mika Singh at the Mumbai airport with foreign currency. The officer has also raided the properties owned by many Bollywood celebs, including Anurag Kashyap, Vivek Oberoi, Ram Gopal Varma.
Interestingly, Sameer Wankhede’s blasé attitude to glamour may have something to do with his marriage to a film actress. Marathi actress and filmmaker Kranti Redkar and Sameer Wankhede married each other in a private ceremony in 2017. Kranti, though a relatively successful actress in the Marathi film industry, has not been able to manage bigger headway in Bollywood except a role in Ajay Devgan starrer 2003 Prakash Jha film, Gangajal The couple has twin daughters.