The newly constituted Special Investigation Team (SIT) led by Narcotics Control Bureau Deputy Director General Sanjay Singh on Saturday started probe in six drug cases including of Aryan Khan lodged with Mumbai Zonal office.
Singh, a 1996 batch IPS officer, will take over the investigation of all six cases which were headed earlier by Zonal Director Sammer Wankhede including the sensational cruise ship party raid of October 2 in which Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, was arrested.
On Friday, the NCB constituted an SIT headed by Singh to probe into these cases and removed Wankhede from the investigating team a week after the agency initiated probe into the alleged allegations of bribery and extortion against him.
The NCB statement issued on Friday said that an SIT comprising officers from Operations Branch of NCB headquarters has been constituted by the Director General, NCB to take over a total of six cases from NCB Mumbai Zonal Unit which have national and international ramifications, in order to conduct deeper investigation to find out forward and backward linkages.
The statement also said that 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 is reiterated that the NCB functions across India as a single integrated agency. However, Wankhede denied that he has been removed from the case and said, “I have not been removed from the investigation. It was my writ petition in the court that the matter be probed by a central agency. So Aryan Khan Case and Sameer Khan Case are being probed by Delhi Special Investigation Team. It is coordination between NCB teams of Delhi and Mumbai.”
He has been under a cloud for a variety of reasons including allegations of corruption, fake caste certificate, a lavish lifestyle, and targeting high-profile individuals, especially from Bollywood and glamour industry with comparatively insignificant drug seizures, etc.
Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik and Wankhede have been engaged in an unprecedented war of words for the past one month, with the NCP leader making a series of shocking exposes on the NCB Mumbai head, besides an affidavit by a witness accusing him of extortion, allegations of Bharatiya Janata Party politicians and wanted criminals being roped in during the ship raid, etc.
The embattled Wankhede has been running from pillar to post to politicians to statutory panels to the courts seeking protection from action against him, and has been recently given relief in the form of three working days’ notice in case of arrest by the police.