Sameer Wankhede quizzed for 4 hours; drugs case probe to continue under him
Deputy director-general of the Narcotics Control Bureau, northern region, Gyaneshwar Singh on Wednesday said Sameer Wankhede, the zonal chief of the Mumbai zone, will remain the investigating officer of the drugs-on-cruise case until substantial information is found against him. The agency has recorded Wankhede's statement in connection with the departmental vigilance probe into the extortion allegations brought against Wankhede.
A five-member vigilance probe team reached Mumbai on Wednesday and began its probe. It has collected some documents and recordings from the Mumbai office of the NCB. "The statement of Wankhede is being recorded...it is a sensitive inquiry and it is not possible to share real-time information related to the probe, and we will not be able to share all the details," Singh said.
The central agency has initiated a vigilance inquiry into the claims made by Prabhakar Sail, who claimed that Wankhede made him sign blank papers in connection with the Aryan Khan case. He also claimed alleged that an extortion bid of ₹25 crore was made by some agency officials, which he claimed based on overhearing some conversation. It has been claimed that Wankhede was supposed to get some money from that ₹25 crore.
Singh said Prabhakar Sail and KP Gosavi will also be interrogated but they could not be contacted through the contact numbers or addresses. "We have tried our best to contact them but could not. Through the media I would like to tell them they are free to join in two days and give evidence to the special inquiry team which has been staying at CRPF mess at Bandra (West)" said Singh.
The questioning comes as another witness of the central agency claimed that he was made to sign blank papers by the agency and by Wankhede in connection with a different case. The witness, Shekhar Kamble, a resident of Navi Mumbai, said he was made to sign on 10-12 blank papers by Wankhede and others, which were later used as panchnama in connection with a Nigerian national’s arrest from Mumbai's Kharghar in August this year. This witness claimed that no drugs were recovered from the Nigerian national, but the NCB falsely showed that some amount of MD drug was found on him.
The DG did not comment on the fresh case of the allegation and said the NCB team is aiming at a fair investigation. That is the reason the investigators are not operating from the NCB office in Mumbai but from CRPG Mess in Bandra. "We tried to contact both Sail and Gosavi. One house was closed while other address could not be verified. We also tried to contact one witness through his advocate but could not trace him," Singh said.
(With agency inputs)