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'He never changed religion, is Qazi above Constitution', asks Wankhede's wife

Source: PTI
October 27, 2021 18:07 IST
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Kranti Redkar, the wife of Narcotics Control Bureau's Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede, on Wednesday said her husband was born as Hindu and he never changed his religion.

Redkar also contested the claim made by the Qazi, who had performed the first marriage of Wankhede in 2006, that he was Muslim at the time of the 'nikah'.

Wankhede is in the eye of a political storm following allegations of extortion in the high-profile cruise drugs case in which actor Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan was arrested. The officer is facing the departmental vigilance probe.

Addressing a press conference, Redkar, who married Wankhede in 2017, slammed Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik for playing "low level" politics by making a string of allegations against her husband.

Malik had alleged Wankhede was born as a Muslim, but forged documents, including a caste certificate, to show that he belonged to the Hindu SC category to get a job under quota after clearing the UPSC examination.

"Is that Qazi above the Constitution? He should produce papers to show Sameer Wankhede had converted (to Islam) to marry his first wife," Redkar said, adding Wankhede had performed the 'nikah' in 2006 only to fulfil the wish of his late mother, who was Muslim.

"It was just a formality. Sameer (Wankhede) is born as a Hindu. He never converted. Malik is levelling allegations out of his grudge owing to the (drugs) case involving his son-in-law," she claimed.

Redkar admitted that the signature on the 2006 nikahnama was of Sameer Wankhede's. "He doesn't know much about nikahnama (a written document that two Muslim partners entering into a civil union must put their signature on to legalise their marriage)," she claimed.

Meanwhile, Wankhede's father Dnyandev Wankhede said he would approach the court against Malik.

"What do my religion or casts have to do with the drug cases? I am Hindu and Mahar (Scheduled Caste). The 2006 Nikahnama is correct and my signature is also genuine. But I didn't understand the content of the document since it was in Urdu," he told reporters.

The Wankhede senior claimed there were only four members in their family.

"The Qazi should show evidence to back his claim that the entire Wankhede family had attended the marriage in 2006," he said.

Earlier in the day, Maulana Muzammil Ahmed, a resident of Mumbai, had told a news channel that he had performed the 'nikah' of Sameer Wankhede and Shabana Qureshi in 2006 in the Lokhandwala complex area.

"Her father had approached me to perform the marriage in the Lokhandwala complex area. The groom's name was Sameer Dawood Wankhede who married Shabana Qureshi," he said.

When asked about Wankhede's claim that he is Hindu the Qazi said had Sameer Wankhede been a Hindu the 'nikah' would not have been performed in the first place.

The Maulana also claimed that all the witnesses had signed the Nikahnama as per Islamic customs.

"If Sameer Wankhede and his family members are claiming that he is Hindu by birth and that his father is also Hindu, then I would say it is wrong," he added.

Refuting Malik's allegations, Wankhede had earlier said that his father is a Hindu and his late mother Zaheeda was a Muslim.

Wankhede had also said he belongs to a "composite, multi-religious and secular family in true Indian tradition" and he is proud of his heritage.

The NCB officer had stated that he married Dr Shabana Qureshi in 2006 under the Special Marriage Act. Both of them divorced mutually through a civil court in 2016. Later, in 2017, he married Marathi actress Kranti Redkar.

On Wednesday, he told PTI that he had married (in 2006) as per Muslim customs as per the wish of his late mother.

Wankhede also asserted that he never converted to Islam and he belonged to a Hindu caste.

Photograph: Kranti Redkar Wankhede/Instagram

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