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  4. Mumbai cruise drug case: Wankhede denies he has been removed from investigation, so does NCB

Mumbai cruise drug case: Wankhede denies he has been removed from investigation, so does NCB

Sameer Wankhede refuted that he has been "removed" from the investigation in the Aryan Khan case and said the agency's move is about coordination between NCB teams of Mumbai and Delhi.

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: November 06, 2021 10:42 IST
NCB Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede
Image Source : PTI

NCB Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede

In a significant development, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Mumbai Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede was on Friday shifted out from the controversial cruise drugs case in which Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan was arrested, with the agency transferring the investigation in the matter and five other cases from the Mumbai unit headed by him to an SIT.

Wankhede, who is facing several personal and service-related allegations, will continue to be the Mumbai zone director of the agency.

Officials cited "administrative grounds" for the decision to transfer the six cases, which also include the one involving the son-in-law of Maharashtra cabinet minister Nawab Malik who had launched a tirade against Wankhede and levelled several allegations against him.

In an official statement, the NCB said, "The six cases are being "taken over" by the special investigation team (SIT) of officers from the Delhi operations unit as they have "national and international ramifications and in order to conduct a deeper investigation to find out forward and backward linkages."

"No officer or officers have been removed from their present roles and they will continue to assist the operations branch investigation as required until any specific orders are issued to the contrary," it said.

The NCB reiterated that it functions across India as a single integrated agency.

The NCB operations unit has a pan-India jurisdiction and it is currently headed by DDG Sanjay Kumar Singh. He is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1996 batch Odisha cadre.

As these cases have "wider and inter-state ramifications", they have been transferred to the operations unit in Delhi, NCB Deputy Director General (north-west region) Mutha Ashok Jain told PTI on Friday.

Jain said the order for the transfer of cases has been issued by NCB Director General (DG) S N Pradhan.

It was not clear if the 2020 drugs case of actor Rhea Chakraborty was also transferred to the operations unit from Mumbai.

Sources said the agency has found "certain issues" in the probe in these six cases and hence they are being taken away from the Mumbai unit.

The NCB had arrested Aryan Khan and at least 19 others in the drugs on cruise case on the intervening night of October 2-3 and Wankhede is facing a departmental vigilance probe after an independent witness in this case alleged an extortion bid by those involved in the investigation. Wankhede had denied any wrongdoing.

Aryan Khan was released on bail on October 30.

A team from the Delhi NCB operations is expected to reach Mumbai on Saturday and camp in there to take the probe in these cases forward, the officials said.

Wankhede refuted that he has been "removed" from the investigation in the Aryan Khan case and said the agency's move is about coordination between NCB teams of Mumbai and Delhi.  

"I've not been removed from investigation. It was my writ petition in court that the matter be probed by a central agency. So Aryan case & Sameer Khan case are being probed by Delhi NCB's SIT," Sameer Wankhede said. 

"It's a coordination between NCB teams of Delhi & Mumbai," he added. 

However, Maharashtra Minister Malik Nawab Malik said the NCB officer's removal from the case "is just the beginning".

''Sameer Wankhede removed from 5 cases including the Aryan Khan case. There are 26 cases in all that need to be probed. This is just the beginning... a lot more has to be done to clean this system and we will do it," the NCP leader said.

Reacting to the development, Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik tweeted, "This is just the beginning. A lot more has to be done to clean this system and we will do it." 

A team of Delhi NCB is arriving in Mumbai tomorrow after the decision that 6 cases of the Mumbai zone, including Aryan Khan's case and 5 other cases, will now be investigated by them.

(with inputs from agencies)

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