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Prior sanction taken from Home Ministry for probe not lawful, says Wankhede

IRS officer Sameer Wankhede told the Bombay HC that the prior sanction taken by central agencies to prosecute him on corruption charges was not lawful as it was obtained from the wrong Union Ministry

Sameer Wankhede

NCB's former Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede

Press Trust of India Mumbai

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IRS officer Sameer Wankhede on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that the prior sanction taken by central agencies to prosecute him on corruption charges was not lawful as it was obtained from the wrong Union Ministry.
Wankhede's counsel Aabad Ponda argued before a division bench of Justices A S Gadkari and S G Dige that the sanction to investigate him (Wankhede) was taken from the Home Ministry which was wrong.
"Wankhede was employed under the Ministry of Finance. He was on loan basis transferred to the NCB which falls under the Home Ministry," Ponda said.
Under section 17 A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, prior sanction is required to be taken before probing a public servant. Wankhede is an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in May this year registered a criminal case against Wankhede, NCB Mumbai's former zonal director, for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 25 crore from Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan in exchange for not framing his son Aryan Khan in the Cordelia cruise ship drugs case.
Wankhede had approached the high court seeking to quash the FIR and also sought interim protection from arrest.
In May, the HC granted Wankhede interim protection from any coercive action.
The bench on Wednesday extended the protection till July 5 when it would continue hearing Wankhede's plea.
Meanwhile, an advocate sought to intervene in the matter and requested for a probe against other NCB officials and Aryan Khan too in the CBI case.
The bench asked the CBI to verify the genuineness and bonafide of the claims made by the advocate.
Wankhede has been booked for offences under sections 7 (bribery), 7A (undue advantage to influence public servant by illegal means) and 12 (abetment) of the Prevention of Corruption Act along with sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 388 (extortion) of the Indian Penal Code.
The CBI and NCB have in their affidavits claimed that necessary sanction (from the Home Ministry) for initiating action under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Wankhede was obtained.
Aryan Khan and several others were arrested in October 2021 for alleged possession, consumption and trafficking of drugs.
Later, Aryan Khan was granted bail by the high court after spending three weeks in jail.
The 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.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jun 28 2023 | 8:40 PM IST

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