Explained: FIR vs. IRS Officer Sameer Wankhede

A FIR was filed against Sameer Wankhedeformer Mumbai Area Director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), for allegedly obtaining a liquor license for a hotel by willfully misrepresenting his age. Jayaprakash S Naidu explains why the FIR was filed and whether serving government officials can operate business establishments.

Why is an FIR filed against IRS agent Sameer Wankhede?

The FIR against Wankhede was filed by the State Excise Department at Thane Police Station in Kopari. According to the department’s allegations, the documents submitted to them to obtain a license to sell alcohol in a restaurant and bar, in Wankhede’s name, were falsified. Wankhede was a minor when the liquor license was obtained in his name, but the minimum age for obtaining a liquor license is 21 according to the state excise department. The license was issued on October 27, 1997 for Vashi’s bar and restaurant when Wankhede was 17 years old. Incidentally, Wankhede’s father, Dnyandev Wankhede, was an officer in the excise department. Earlier this month, collector Thane Rajesh Narvekar issued an order revoking the license of restaurant and bar Sadguru in Vashi.

Can any government official do a private business or trade?

No. Former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and barrister YP Singh said: “Under Rule 13 of the All India Service (Conduct) Rules, 1968, an official no is not allowed to do private business. If he does business, he will be subject to ministerial measures under the disciplinary rules. Former deputy police commissioner and lawyer, Iqbal Shaikh, said: “The rules are the same for state government employees as the rules of conduct for the civil services in Maharashtra.”

What does Wankhede say in his defense of the controversy?

Wankhede said he did not run the establishment and denied any wrongdoing.

“The power of attorney for our family restaurant’s liquor license was given to my mother in 2006 when I joined the public service. Moreover, we do not exploit it, it is rented out. I repeat that neither I nor my mother presented a false document. How can a minor child submit a false document to manipulate the government apparatus? Is it possible? We will surely opt for a legal option, because the case is pending. It’s quite surprising and painful to know that matter is invented after 25 years. It is the price to pay for doing your duty with honesty and integrity. Even a normal layman can read what is happening and the reason behind it,” Wankhede said.

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