Sameer Wankhede
Sameer Wankhede. File photo.

Extortion and bribery case: Sameer Wankhede gets relief from arrest till June 23

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The Bombay High Court on Thursday (June 8) extended till June 23 the interim protection from arrest granted to NCB’s former Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede in the CBI’s case of extortion and bribery against him.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has charged Wankhede and four others with extorting ₹25 crore bribe from actor Shah Rukh Khan in exchange of not framing his son Aryan Khan following alleged seizure of drugs from a cruise ship in October 2021.

Also read: Aryan Khan case: HC asks CBI not to take ‘coercive action’ against Sameer Wankhede till Monday

Extending Wankhede’s relief, a division bench of Justices AS Gadkari and SG Dige said it would hear the former NCB chief’s plea seeking to quash the CBI FIR in the case on June 23.

Wankhede’s counsel Aabad Ponda told the high court that as per the court’s earlier direction, the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer appeared before the CBI for interrogation seven times and has been cooperating.

CBI’s advocate Kuldeep Patil told the court that the investigation in the case was at a crucial stage.

Also read: CBI books Sameer Wankhede for seeking Rs 25 cr bribe to let off Aryan Khan in drugs-on-cruise case

The bench said it would hear Wankhede’s plea on June 23.

“Interim relief granted stands extended till the next date,” the court said.

Wankhede moved the high court last month seeking quashing of the case and also sought interim protection from any coercive action.

A vacation bench of the high court granted him interim protection from arrest till June 8, while asking Wankhede to cooperate in the probe.

The CBI in its affidavit filed last week sought for the interim protection to be recalled, saying it had a prima facie case against Wankhede.

Wankhede and others accused in the case have been booked on charges of criminal conspiracy and extortion threats under the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act pertaining to bribery.

Also read: Ex-NCB officer Sameer Wankhede not a Muslim by birth: Caste panel

Aryan and several others were arrested in October 2021 for alleged possession, consumption and trafficking of drugs.

Later, Aryan was granted bail by the high court after spending three weeks in jail.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) subsequently filed its chargesheet, but did not name Aryan as an accused in the case citing lack of evidence.

The anti-drugs agency had then set up a special enquiry team to carry out an inquiry into the case and against its own officers.

Also read: NCB officer Sameer Wankhede shunted out of Aryan Khan drug case

(With inputs from agencies)

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