NCB’s credibility at stake: Charges against zonal head must be probed thoroughly - The Tribune India

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NCB’s credibility at stake

Charges against zonal head must be probed thoroughly

NCB’s credibility at stake

Sameer Wankhede. - PTI file photo



THE Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which is probing the cruise drugs case in which movie star Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan is among the accused, finds itself under intense scrutiny as its Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede is facing a slew of allegations. A witness has alleged that Wankhede and other officials demanded Rs 25 crore for letting off Aryan. The high-profile case has triggered a political slugfest between the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is part of the Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra, and the ruling BJP at the Centre. NCP spokesperson and minister Nawab Malik has accused Wankhede of running an extortion racket, illegally tapping phones and submitting a bogus caste certificate to get a Central government job in the Scheduled Caste category. Malik has also claimed that at least Rs 1,000 crore have been extorted in Mumbai and Maldives from Bollywood personalities.

Even as a departmental vigilance inquiry has been initiated against Wankhede, there is no denying that his position has become untenable. Since he had led the cruise drugs bust, his continuation as the zonal head can adversely impact the investigation. The shady goings-on in Maharashtra have again turned the spotlight on tainted officials who thrive on political patronage. Earlier this year, ‘encounter specialist’ Sachin Waze came under the scanner of the National Investigation Agency after the recovery of an explosives-laden SUV near business tycoon Mukesh Ambani’s Mumbai residence and the murder of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran. The case caused major reverberations as Param Bir Singh was shunted out as the Mumbai Police Commissioner. Himself accused of corruption, Param Bir trained his guns at state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, alleging that the latter set extortion targets for cops. The minister had resigned after the Bombay High Court ordered a CBI probe into the charges.

Such sordid episodes have laid bare the nexus between politicians, officials and criminals, showing law enforcement agencies in a poor light and sparking accusations of vendetta and misuse of power. With its credibility at stake, the NCB needs to go all out to clean its Augean stables and weed out the black sheep. 


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