Mumbai: The Wankhede family was Muslim, performed ‘namaz’ and ‘Ramadan fasts’ and were known to the family of Sameer’s former wife Dr. Shabana Quraishi almost four years before marriage, revealed the latter’s father Dr. Zahid Quraishi, here on Thursday.
Speaking to hordes of mediapersons, Dr. Quraishi — the ex-father-in-law of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede — said that the two families had “excellent relations” prior to his (Sameer’s) wedding with his daughter.
“The marriage took place before they were Muslims… Otherwise it would not have materialised… They were good Muslims, performing ‘namaz’ and ‘Ramadan rozas’ also,” Dr. Quraishi asserted, dropping a bombshell.
Dr. Shabana Quraishi was acquainted with Sameer Wankhede over three years before their engagement and got married some 10 months post-betrothal, and later they had a child out of the wedlock.
The new disclosures come a day after the Wankhede family members vehemently denied that they were Muslims and asserted that they were Hindus.
In a climbdown of sorts following the furore, Sameer Wankhede’s father Dynaneshwar Wankhede said that his late wife addressed him by a pet name of ‘Dawood’, while his wife Kranti Redkar-Wankhede said he (Sameer) married in a Muslim ceremony as per the desires of his deceased mother.
Nationalist Congress Party Minister Nawab Malik reiterated that the issue he had raised was not about Wankhede’s religion, but his forged caste-papers on the basis of which he secured a Central government job in the IRS.
“I challenge them to prove me wrong… I shall quit my Ministerial post immediately… I dare them to drag me to any court of law and I shall ensure that all my charges are true with evidence,” said Malik grimly, after his series of exposures on Sameer Wankhede’s role in the NCB kicked up a huge political dust-storm.
The Muslim priest Maulana Muzammil Ahmed, who performed the ‘nikaah’ (marriage) of Sameer Wankhede-Dr. Shabana Quraishi in Andheri west, on Wednesday confirmed that the bridegroom was a Muslim and his father’s name was Dawood.
“The bride was a Muslim, the bridegroom was also Muslim, their parents were Muslims… Otherwise I would not have performed it (nikaah),” Maulana Ahmed told mediapersons.
The row over Sameer Wankhede’s religious credentials erupted after Malik on Wednesday posted his ‘nikaah-nama’ with his signature and the December 7, 2006 wedding pix of the couple in Muslim attire, and how he had allegedly forged his caste certificate later to get a reserved category government job.
However, the Wankhede family has rubbised all the allegations and some Bharatiya Janata Party activists have demanded his sacking from the state cabinet for misusing his official position.