MUMBAI: The city police on Thursday assured the Bombay High Court that it will not arrest the NCB's zonal director Sameer Wankhede without giving him three days' notice.
The assurance came after Wankhede moved the court seeking protection. Wankhede filed a plea seeking an urgent hearing. He said he feared that police would arrest him over allegations of extortion against him in the case related to drugs-on-cruise involving actor Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan.
His lawyer and senior advocate Atul Nanda mentioned the petition before a bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and S V Kotwal, seeking interim protection from arrest. Wankhede was a senior officer of the Narcotics Control Bureau and not a "drug peddler", the lawyer said.
Besides a direction to police not to arrest him, the petition sought that the allegations against him be probed by an independent agency such as the CBI or NIA.
Wankhede feared that the Mumbai police's probe against him was likely to be biassed and unfair, it said. He was a "decorated officer" of the NCB who was being subjected to "public vilification" following Aryan Khan's arrest, the petition said.
Prabhakar Sail, the personal bodyguard of now a key witness in the Aryan Khan case Kiran Gosavi, in his affidavit alleged that Wankhede and his associates had demanded Rs 25 crore from actor Shahrukh Khan to release his son Aryan. He and another witness Shekhar Kamble also alleged that Sameer Wankhede had taken their signature on ten blank pages and made them witnesses.
Meanwhile, state minister Nawab Malik asked why Wankhede does not trust the Mumbai Police? “When he was arresting and harassing people on false charges, he was enjoying the limelight. Now, he is running pillar to post to save himself. We will expose him,” Malik said. He tweeted: "Picture (movie) Abhi Baki hai dost."
Nawab Malik claimed that the wedding of Sameer and Shabhana was done according to Islamic rituals and posted their nikah-nama on social media to substantiate his claim that Wankhede concealed his Muslim identity and forged documents to claim SC quota for the job.
Earlier in the day, Sameer Wankhde’s wife Kranti Redkar wrote a letter to CM Uddhav Thackeray that as they are a Marathi family, the Shiv Sena should protect them from personal attacks. She referred to Thackeray as a brother, reminded him of the Balasaheb Thackeray’s days of protecting Marathi Manoos, and said they expected the same from his son.
Meanwhile, Sameer Wankhde’s first father-in-law Zaheed Quraishi said they always knew the Wankhede family as followers of Islam. “In 2006, when Sameer and Shabana got married, Sameer was a practising Muslim. He would also occasionally visit mosques,” Quraishi said.
“In fact, I always knew Dnyandev as Dawood Wankhede. We agreed to the wedding of my daughter Shabana with Sameer because we had cordial relations with his late mother Zaheeda," Dr Qureshi said, adding that the marriage between Sameer and Shabana was an arranged one and it did not last long as the duo got divorced in the same month.
Quraishi further said since the controversy over Sameer Wankhede's religion, he was being questioned by people about how he allowed his daughter to marry a Hindu. "It became an issue of prestige for me and my family. Hence, I am making it clear that when the marriage between my daughter Shabana and Sameer took place, the groom was practising Islam. His father's name was Dawood," he said.