NCP leader Nawab Malik held a press conference on Wednesday where he alleged that the NCB raid on a luxury cruise liner last week was “fake”. A total of eight people, including actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, were arrested by the drug enforcement agency during the raid on Saturday.
“There was no seizure [of drugs] made on the cruise [liner]. All the photos released are the ones clicked at the NCB office,” Nawab Malik alleged.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader went on to say that the procedure for the seizure of drugs as prescribed in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act was not followed and the drug enforcement agency “concocted” the raid and seizure to “frame” the accused.
He went on to say, “Our allegation is that the BJP has been conspiring to defame Maharashtra, the Maharashtra government and Bollywood for the past one year. The drama of October 3 [NCB raid] was fake.”
“NCB has been operational in the country for the last 36 years and has busted many domestic and international drug rackets. There has never been any suspicion over the agency’s work all that time.
“All aware citizens and political parties have always respected the NCB and everyone wants drug addiction and drug trade to be brought to an end in the country,” Nawab Malik said. He added that the NDPS Act was brought in to prevent drug abuse. As a result, a central agency – the NCB – was created to ensure an interstate crackdown on the drug trade, Malik said.
‘BJP functionaries were party of NCB raid’
Malik, who is a minister in the Maharashtra government, also alleged that some functionaries of the BJP were part of the NCB raid on Cordelia Cruises’ Empress ship.
The NCP leader told reporters that a person by the name of “KP Gosavi” was seen bringing in Aryan Khan to the NCB office in Mumbai. Referring to a viral photo, Nawab Malik said, “He [Gosavi] also clicked a selfie with Aryan Khan. The NCB’s Delhi office later released a statement saying that he has nothing to do with NCB.”
— Nawab Malik (@nawabmalikncp) October 6, 2021
“My first question to the Zonal Director [Sameer Wankhede] is, what is your link with KP Gosavi,” said Nawab Malik.
He added that there is another video showing one “Manish Bhanushali” bringing Aryan Khan’s friend Arbaaz Merchantt to the NCB office. “This person is Manish Bhanushali, who is a vice president of some wing of the BJP,” Nawab Malik said.
Allegations levelled are baseless, seem to be with malice: NCB
“All the seizure memos (panchnamas) were drawn as per the provisions established by the law. In total, four follow-up seizures have been affected after the seizure from the cruise following due procedure as per rules. Investigation of the case is in progress,” a press statement issued by Gyaneshwar Singh, Deputy Director-General of the NCB, said.
The statement added, “Some allegations levelled against the Organisation are baseless and seem to be with malice and probable prejudice that may have been harboured in retaliation against earlier legal actions carried out by NCB. NCB reiterates that its procedure has been and will continue to be professionally and legally transparent and unbiased.”
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) October 6, 2021
In addition, the statement also listed the names of nine individuals associated with the NCB raid as “witnesses”. These included Kiran Gosavi and Manish Bhanushali.
“If they [NCP] want to go the court, they can go and seek justice. We will reply there. We have done everything as per law,” NCB Deputy DG Gyaneshwar Singh told reporters during a press conference in Mumbai.
We were called in as witnesses to sign at the NCB office: Bhanushali
Responding to Malik’s allegations, Manish Bhanushali told India Today, “I had received information that some drug party was happening on the cruise ship. This is affecting the youth of our country and so those responsible for this should be punished and that will help stop drug abuse. Based on that, we approached officers and they said that if your information is confirmed then we will surely take action.”
“The operation happened and we were then called in as witnesses to sign at the NCB office. We were not taking the accused but just accompanying them to the office, we were going with them to the NCB office. KP Gosavi is a friend and he accompanied me. Now the accused are in custody till October 7, we will return to Mumbai and record our statement with NCB,” Bhanushali said.
(with inputs by Arvind Ojha)