The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has been investigating a number of Bollywood celebrities in several cases related to drugs since the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput on June 14 last year. And Sameer Wankhede is on the job. According to reports, Wankhede and his team seized drugs worth Rs 17,000 crore in the last two years.
A 2004 batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, Wankhede came into the limelight yet again on the evening of October 2, when he led the elite investigative agency in a drugs bust on a luxury liner off the Mumbai coast. The team arrested
several high-profile individuals, including actor Shah Rukh Khan’s 23-year-old son Aryan Khan.
Last year, Wankhede, the Zonal Director of NCB, had interrogated actor Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik, in connection with the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.
Prior to that, he had grilled actors Sara Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone and Shraddha Kapoor in drugs-related cases and even arrested Armaan Kohli for possession of illegal substances. He has raided properties of Bollywood celebs like Vivek Oberoi, Anurag Kashyap and Ram Gopal Varma in the past.
Wankhede was the additional SP with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) before he joined the anti-drugs agency. A no-nonsense officer, Wankhede has also held the post of deputy commissioner of the Air Intelligence Unit and joint commissioner of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
During his stint at the Maharashtra service tax department in 2010, Wankhede booked 2,500 people for evading taxes, including 200 celebrities. In the last two years, the top cop added Rs 87 crore to the exchequer, a record in Mumbai.
In 2013, Wankhede stopped singer Mika Singh at the Mumbai airport for carrying foreign currency.
As a customs officer, Wankhede had stopped the cricket World Cup trophy from being released at the Mumbai airport in 2011. The trophy, made of gold, was released after the requisite customs duty was paid.
In 2020, Wankhede and his team were attacked by a mob during a raid.
"Sameer has always been a hard worker,” his wife and Marathi actor Kranti Redkar told ETimes TV in an interview recently.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)