Interest charge

Panel clears former NCB chief Sameer Wankhede of false caste certificate charge

The Maharashtra government on Saturday cleared Sameer Wankhede, a former Mumbai Zone Director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), accused of submitting a false caste certificate allegedly for government employment.

The government order came after the Mumbai District Caste Review Committee probed the matter for almost seven months and gave the right word to the tax officer, currently stationed in Chennai.

The panel concluded that Wankhede is not a Muslim by birth and belongs to the Mahar community which is a scheduled caste.

Former Maharashtra minister and leader of the Nationalist Congress Party Nawab Malik – currently in detention – had first raked in the issue, along with other activists like Ashok Kamble, Manoj Sansare and Sanjay Kambale.

According to the official order, it has not been proven that Wankhede and his father Dnyandev Wankhede renounced Hinduism to convert to Islam and that they both belonged to the Mahar 37 scheduled caste, and have dismissed all complaints against them in this regard.

Shortly after, Wankhede tweeted – “Satyameva Jayate” – meaning “victory of truth”, and said that he and his family had suffered a lot of trauma because of this case.

Ashok Kamble’s attorney, Barrister Nitin Satpute, said the Wankhede caste issue was already being challenged in the Bombay High Court in a written petition filed last year.

“We didn’t have a lot of expectations from the caste review board, trust the high court,” he said.

“We will now amend our petition in view of the latest order… It is not final and we will ask the High Court to order a full investigation into the case,” Satpute added.

According to the order, signed by DCCVC Mumbai Chairperson Anita Meshram, Secretary Sunita Mate and Member Salima Tadvi, “Non-Applicant Sameer Dnyandev Wankhede is not a Muslim by birth. This is not proven and the no -Applicant and his father Dnyandev Wankhede have renounced Hinduism and duly converted to Islam”.

Wankhede had come into the limelight in 2020 after the investigation into drug cases stemming from the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput in which several film personalities were targeted.

In October 2021, he made the sensational arrest of Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, after a raid on an alleged drug party aboard a cruise ship, although Aryan then received a clean hit from the NCB.

–IANS

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