Bribery Case: HC extends Sameer Wankhede’s interim protection from coercive action till Jan 10

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday extended till January 10 the interim protection from any coercive action granted to IRS officer Sameer Wankhede, who is named as an accused by the CBI in an extortion and bribery case related to the Cordelia cruise drugs case.

A division bench of Justices P D Naik and N R Borkar said it would hear Wankhede’s petition seeking to quash the FIR lodged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on January 10 and 11, 2024.

Advocate Kuldeep Patil, appearing for the CBI, told the court on Tuesday that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta would argue on behalf of the CBI on January 10 or 11.

Wankhede’s counsel Aabad Ponda said he would argue on January 10.

The CBI in May lodged the FIR against Wankhede, former Mumbai zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau, and others on the basis of a written complaint issued to them by the NCB.

The central agency’s case is that Wankhede and four other accused allegedly demanded Rs 25 crore bribe from actor Shah Rukh Khan for not framing his son Aryan Khan following the alleged seizure of drugs from a cruise ship in 2021.

Wankhede later moved the HC, seeking that the case be quashed. He had also sought interim protection from any coercive action.

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

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Aryan Khan and some other persons 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 Khan as an accused in the case citing lack of evidence.

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

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