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The Hindu
The Hindu

Extortion and bribery case: Bombay High Court extends Sameer Wankhede’s interim protection from arrest till June 23

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

The CBI's case is that Mr. Wankhede and four other accused had demanded ₹25 crore bribe from actor Shah Rukh Khan for not framing his son Mr. Aryan Khan following alleged seizure of drugs from a cruise ship in October 2021.

A Division Bench of Justices A S Gadkari and S G Dige said it would hear Mr. Wankhede's plea seeking to quash the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) FIR in the case on June 23.

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

Also Read | Aryan Khan, Sameer Wankhede and a political slugfest

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

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

"Interim relief granted stands extended till the next date," the Court said.

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

A Vacation Bench of the HC then granted interim protection to Mr. Wankhede from arrest till June 8 and directed him to cooperate with the investigation.

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

Mr. 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.

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

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