The Narcotics Control Bureau's (NCB) former zonal director Sameer Wankhede has approached the Bombay High Court challenging a notice issued to him by a caste certificate scrutiny committee, asking him to show cause as to why his caste certificate should not be confiscated.

The Mumbai District Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee had on April 29 this year issued the notice to Wankhede noting that perusal of complaints and documents proves that he (Wankhede) belongs to the Muslim religion, and asked him to show cause as to why his caste certificate should not be cancelled and confiscated.

In his petition filed in the high court on May 4, Wankhede claimed that the notice was "illegal, arbitrary and issued without giving him an opportunity to defend himself". He reiterated that he belongs to the Mahar community, which is recognised as a Scheduled Caste (SC) and that he had neither given any false information nor filed any false documents while obtaining the caste certificate.

The Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer claimed that even though his mother was a Muslim by religion, he had professed Hindu religion since birth and had been following Hindu practices and customs.

"At the time of the birth of the petitioner (Wankhede), without the petitioner's father's knowledge and consent, the name Dawood K Wankhde was incorrectly provided to the hospital (as father's name) and 'Muslim' was incorrectly recorded in the birth register," the petition said.

When Wankhede was 10-years-old, his father initiated necessary steps to ensure that his school records and his name in the birth register were corrected. The IRS officer also pointed out that NCP leader and state minister Nawab Malik, who had filed the complaint with the committee, had no locus standi.

The plea said Malik's allegation that Wankhede had submitted a false and fabricated caste certificate to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) at the time of taking the central services examination was completely incorrect and false.

"The respondent No. 6 (Nawab Malik) is maliciously targeting the petitioner solely to settle their personal scores," it said, adding that the committee could not have held an enquiry on the basis of Malik's complaint who has a personal vendetta against Wankhede as he, while discharging his duty as NCB zonal director, had arrested Malik's son-in-law Sameer Khan.

In the petition, Wankhede sought the high court to quash the show-cause notice issued by the committee and to set up a committee headed by a retired judge of the High Court to enquire into the issue or transfer the enquiry from the state committee to the central committee.

With PTI inputs