The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has approached the Bombay High Court to recall its previous order granting interim protection to the former Mumbai zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Sameer Wankhede. The CBI claims that it has a prima facie case against him on charges of extortion and bribery in connection with the arrest of Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan following alleged seizure of drugs from a cruise ship.
Last month, the CBI filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Wankhede and four others for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 25 crore to refrain from framing Aryan Khan in the drugs case. In response, Wankhede filed a petition seeking to quash the FIR and obtain interim protection from any coercive action. A vacation bench of the High Court had granted him interim relief, directing him to cooperate with the investigation.
On June 2, the CBI filed an affidavit in response to Wankhede’s petition, urging the court to recall the interim protection order and dismiss the plea. The agency argued that it has a prima facie case against Wankhede and that granting him any further relief would hinder the ongoing investigation.
According to the CBI’s affidavit, it registered the FIR against Wankhede based on a written complaint received from the NCB on May 11, 2023. The allegations in the FIR involve serious offences related to corruption, criminal conspiracy, and extortion by individuals who were then serving as public servants in the NCB. The CBI emphasized that the investigation is still in its initial stages and being conducted in an unbiased and professional manner.
The CBI stressed the gravity and seriousness of the alleged offences and argued that FIRs can only be quashed in extremely rare cases where no cognizable offence is established. The high court is expected to hear Wankhede’s plea on Thursday.
Wankhede and the other accused in the case have been charged with criminal conspiracy, extortion threats under the Indian Penal Code, and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act related to bribery. Aryan Khan, along with several others, was arrested in October 2021 for alleged possession, consumption, and trafficking of drugs. Subsequently, Aryan Khan was granted bail by the high court after spending three weeks in jail. The NCB has since filed a chargesheet without naming Aryan as an accused, citing lack of evidence. The agency has also initiated an internal inquiry against its own officers involved in the case.