Sameer Wankhede, the man against Bollywood drug mafia


The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has been investigating the Bollywood-drugs nexus in full swing. The Mumbai wing of the anti-drug trafficking agency led by NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede had commenced an investigation in the case after the death of Sushant Singh Rajput and the drugs conspiracy that came to the fore in the aftermath.

Over the last year, top Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, Wankhede has been responsible for the questioning and arrest of numerous stars, and raids at the house of several others. The officer has also been the channel through which the NCB has communicated the official statements of the investigation to the media.

Now in the latest development, Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan has been nabbed by the NCB in the Mumbai Cruise Drug Bust.

The agency busted a high-profile drug party on a cruise ship en route from Mumbai to Goa on Saturday evening. During the raid, the NCB seized Cocaine, Hashish, MD, and other drugs. According to Sameer Wankhede, the NCB had “inputs” about the presence of drugs, and the operation was conducted professionally. Further probe is expected to happen soon.

Sameer Wankhede is a 2008 Batch IRS officer and his first posting was at the Mumbai airport as the Customs Officer. Under his tenure, the Customs Department withheld clearances to many celebrities at the airport until they disclosed the goods bought in foreign currency.

Wankhede is said to have booked more than 2,000 celebrities for not paying taxes including the likes of Anurag Kashyap, Vivek Oberoi, and Ram Gopal Varma.

In 2011, Sameer Wankhede had stalled the entry of the World Cup trophy at the Mumbai airport. The trophy, made in Gold, was released only after customs duty was paid on it. A notable celebrity that had come under his scanner was Mika Singh.

In 2013, the singer was caught at the airport with foreign currency by Wankhede. As the Customs Officer, Sameer Wankhede is said to have booked more than 2000 celebrities under his tenure.

The officer was then posted as the NCB Zonal Director, Mumbai. In the last two years, a probe led by him and his team has managed to seize drugs worth Rs 17,000 crore.

In an interview to The Indian Express in February, Wankhede had said their strategy was to nip drugs at all levels. “Regarding consumers, is consuming legal in the country?… There is Section 27 of the NDPS Act… Anybody violating the Act, we are taking action.”

In August this year, Wankhede and his team got the Home Minister’s medal for “excellence in the investigation”.

Even his bitter critics concede that Wankhede today has one of the most enviable networks of informants and has dealt a major blow to the narcotics network in Mumbai and Goa.

NCB leader Nawab Malik’s son-in-law Sameer Khan was incidentally arrested by the NCB in connection with a narcotics case earlier this year, and got bail last month, after around six months.

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant says the NCB under Wankhede is “doing the work of the BJP government”.

The officer had come under the limelight when he began leading the investigation under the Bollywood-drugs nexus in the aftermath of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. Last year in November, a team of six members of the NCB including Sameer Wankhede were physically assaulted in the Goregaon area during the search operations related to drug peddlers.

Now, the latest case that has come under the NCB scanner is the high-profile Mumbai-Goa cruise party. The event organized aboard the cruise ship was found out to be a two-night rave party allegedly involving celebrities, including actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan. After an eight-hour-long operation, Aryan Khan along with 7 others were detained by the NCB. SRK’s son and two others have been sent to NCB custody till October 4.


[Photo courtesy: Twitter]