The tenure of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Mumbai zonal chief Sameer Wankhede, which was marked by controversies, is set to end on Friday, December 31. Wankhede, a 2008-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, had found himself in a spot following the arrest of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan in the drugs-on-cruise case.
Earlier this month, Wankhede confirmed he will not seek an extension of his term with the NCB. It is not yet clear where he would be posted after his NCB deputation ends, as per officials following the matter.
Sameer Wankhede’s eventful tenure with the NCB is most notable for investigations into the alleged Bollywood drugs syndicate after actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death by suicide. Starting with actor Rhea Chakraborty, multiple high-profile Bollywood personalities were interrogated and arrested by the NCB under Wankhede, who was on a deputation to the central agency since September 2020.
In October this year, a team led by Sameer Wankhede allegedly recovered drugs during a raid on a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast and arrested Aryan Khan along with others. But subsequently, questions were raised about the credentials of independent witnesses used by the NCB during the raid, and it was also alleged that there was an attempt to extort money from Shah Rukh Khan by officials of the anti-drug agency.
Maharashtra minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik also raised a barrage of allegations against Wankhede, alleging that the officer was born a Muslim but later forged a caste certificate to get a job in the Scheduled Caste (SC) quota.
Although Wankhede denied the allegations and his father filed a defamation suit against Malik, the allegations caused an uproar on social media. Several high-profile cases, including that of Aryan Khan and that of Nawab Malik’s son-in-law, were transferred from the NCB Mumbai to a special investigation team formed by the head office.
Between August and December 2020, Wankhede arrested 96 and registered 28 cases. In 2021, Wankhede made 234 arrests, registered 117 cases, seized over 1,791kg drugs worth around ₹1,000 crore, and froze properties over ₹11 crore, the NCB has said.