The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has ordered the Maharashtra Police to investigate a complaint of harassment allegedly meted out to NCB official Sameer Wankhede by Nawab Malik, a minister in Uddhav Thackeray government and senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). As per the order issued by the Commission on Friday, the police have to submit an Action Taken Report within seven days. It took the action following a complaint forwarded by Wankhede against Malik on October 26. The NCSC had also received a complaint from a Dalit organisation from Kanpur against Nawab Malik.
"Whereas a Complaint information has been received by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes from Shri Sameer Dnyandey Wankhede as enclosed and the Commission has decided to investigate inquire into the matter in pursuance of the powers conferred upon it under Article 338 of the Constitution of India. You are hereby requested to submit an action taken report to the undersigned within 7 days of receipt of this notice," states the order addressed to the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police of Maharashtra and the Mumbai Police Commissioner as well.
In an event of the failure in submitting a report, the Commission can summon the responsible official of the Maharashtra government. "Please take notice that in case the Commission does not receive reply from you within the stipulated time, the Commission may exercise the powers of Civil Courts conferred on it under Article 331 of the Constitution of India and issue summons for your appearance in person or by a representative before the Commission."
Malik has been making personal allegations against Wankhede related to his caste, alleging that the official and his family are not Dalit but Muslim. Malik has been making the allegations against the Wankhede family through media and social media. He had shared images of what he claimed were Wankhede's Nikahnama and birth certificate, alleging that Wahkhede had forged documents to obtain his job as a Scheduled Caste candidate. Nawab Malik had claimed that Sameer Wankhede's father is a Muslim and does not belong to Scheduled Caste, as claimed by Wankhede.
NCB's Zonal Director Wankhede has been facing verbal attack ever since he presided over the investigation against Aryan Khan, son of actor Shah Rukh Khan, and other celebrities in the Cruise Ship Drug case. Khan and others were arrested on October 2 from the cruise ship in Mumbai and a case under various sections of the NDPS Act was registered against them. Aryan Khan was released on bail on Saturday, after bail was granted by the Bombay High Court.
Earlier, Kanpur based Dalit rights organization, Dalit Positive Movement, had alleged in its complaint to the NCSC that the Maharashtra Minister is "publicly shaming a decorated officer just because he belongs to the Dalit community". The complainant also stated that Malik has "malafide intent and vitriolic casteist contempt towards Mr. Sameer Wankhede" and is misusing his constitutional power to attack the officer. The present action of NCSC is based on a complaint by Wankhede himself.
A PIL before the Bombay High Court seeking to restrain Nawab Malik from making such allegations is pending.