Former Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) zonal director Sameer Wankhede has taken legal action against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) by challenging the money laundering case filed against him in the Bombay High Court. Wankhede asserts that the case is retaliatory in nature, a purported response to a complaint he lodged against a senior official within the anti-drug agency.
The ED initiated the money laundering case following a complaint from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) regarding an alleged demand for a bribe of Rs 25 crore from Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s family. The alleged demand was purportedly to secure leniency for Khan’s son, Aryan Khan, amidst a drug-related investigation. Wankhede, a 2008-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer of the Customs and Indirect Taxes cadre, contends in his plea that the ED’s actions “reeks of malice and vendetta”.
Wankhede’s petition, presented through his legal representatives Karan Jain, Sneha Sanap, and Aditya Targe, seeks the dismissal of the ED’s case and requests an interim order to prevent coercive measures. Additionally, he seeks a halt to the ED’s investigation until his petition challenging the CBI case is deliberated upon.
Both petitions are slated for a hearing on February 15 before a division bench presided over by Justice P D Naik. In the CBI case, Wankhede has already been granted interim protection against coercive action by the High Court. Regarding the ED case, Wankhede alleges that although the enforcement case information report (ECIR) was filed last year, summonses were issued to certain NCB officers recently, subsequent to Wankhede’s complaint against NCB’s Deputy Director General Gyaneshwar Singh last month.
Wankhede states that he resorted to legal recourse in Delhi after both the Delhi and Mumbai police failed to initiate an inquiry into his grievances against Singh. A Delhi court has directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police, South West Delhi, to furnish an action taken report on Wankhede’s complaints. Wankhede’s petition before the High Court posits that Singh, along with influential individuals, have conspired to embroil him in legal troubles.
“The ED’s case is a counter blast to the complaint filed by the petitioner (Wankhede) against IPS Gyaneshwar in January 2024,” his plea asserts.