Maharashtra cabinet minister Nawab Malik on Tuesday targeted NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede for his ‘lavish lifestyle’ and made public his sister Yasmeen Wankhede’s purported WhatsApp chats with a now-jailed drug peddler.
“While Wankhede claims to be an honest officer, he wears shirts that cost over Rs 30,000, shoes that cost over Rs 2 lakh and watches that are worth many lakhs. I want to know how a government employee can afford to live this lifestyle,” Malik said.
He said that the expensive clothes worn by Wankhede were beyond the reach of an honest and upright officer and this lifestyle was funded through extortion money.
“He deployed a private army to frame people and extort money from them. Crores have been extorted by Wankhede,” Malik said.
Malik also questioned the delay in the investigation of the drug case related to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and said that it has been 14 months but the case is not concluded and that thousands of crores have been extorted in this time span.
“No chargesheet has been filed nor a closure report filed in the case even after 14 months. According to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, a chargesheet is supposed to be filed within six months of the case,” Malik said, adding that money was extracted from various well-known actors under the garb of investigations.
Malik also put out a WhatsApp chat purportedly between Wankhede’s sister Yasmeen, who is a lawyer, and a drug peddler.
Wankhede said that the drug peddler had approached his sister for legal representation, but was told that she did not handle cases under NDPS Act.
“A (drug) peddler, Salman, approached my sister… but she doesn’t take NDPS cases, so she sent him back. Salman tried to trap us via a middleman. He was arrested and is in jail. False allegations are being levelled by sharing his WhatsApp chat,” Wankhede said.
On claims about his lifestyle and expensive clothes, Wankhede said these were rumours. “As far as my expensive clothes are concerned, it is just a rumour,” he said.
Responding to allegations, an NCB official said that a person had approached Wankhede’s sister, a lawyer who deals with cases of crime against women and minors, with a query related to a sexual assault case. Hence she sent the person her address. However, the next day, eight persons including a minor who belonged to the family of one Salman came to her office. Salman was a wanted drug peddler in one of the cases being probed by Wankhede.
As soon they broached the topic, Yasmeen asked them to leave her office, the official said, adding that it was an attempt to trap Wankhede who has been taking action against peddlers.
“So there is no wrongdoing proved on the basis of the WhatsApp chats, and it is being used out of context to show connections that don’t exist,” the official added.