The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to entertain a petition by former Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officer Sameer Dyandev Wankhede seeking protection from search, seizure or arrest on allegations of amassing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
HC not convinced on the point of territorial jurisdiction
The high court said it was not convinced on the point of territorial jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter and Wankhede, a 2008 batch Indian Revenue Service officer, has not placed any document on record on the basis of which he has filed the petition.
“A perusal of the petition shows that the intimation/ communication/reference alleged to have been made by respondent no. 6 to the CBI in relation to the petitioner (Wankhede) which he seeks to impugn is not on record. Counsel for the petitioner submits that the petitioner does not have a copy of such communication,” the court observed.
“In the absence of such communication, the petition is bereft of the very foundation on which it is sought to be premised. Furthermore, absent such communication, the territorial jurisdiction of this court to entertain the petition is in doubt,” Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani said.
Wankhede withdraws plea after argument
After advancing some arguments, Wankhede’s counsel sought to withdraw the plea with the liberty to file afresh for the same cause of action before a court of competent jurisdiction once there is tangible material on which such a petition is founded, the high court said, while allowing him to withdraw it.
Wankhede’s counsel submitted he has oral information that some proceedings have been initiated against him after an NCB official allegedly claimed before the CBI that he was acquiring disproportionate assets.
The properties were acquired by Wankhede before he joined the Indian Revenue Service and, therefore, no case under the Prevention of Corruption Act could be made out.
Wankhede asked protection from search, seizure or arrest
The counsel said the officer has no problem in facing an inquiry but he should not be subjected to search, seizure or arrest, and should be given notice before any action is taken.
The court said it cannot quash something which is not before it and added that the officer’s claims were purely hypothetical. “I cannot act preemptively. I am afraid I cannot help you. This petition, as of now, is incomplete,” the judge said.
Wankhede, who was posted on deputation to NCB between September 2020 to December 2021, is now serving with the Directorate General of Taxpayer Services in Chennai. He led the NCB team that probed the drugs-on-cruise case against Aryan Khan, the son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, and others.