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Maharashtra Minister alleges BJP link in cruise drug bust

Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik. File   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

In a new twist to the cruise drug bust case in Mumbai, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Maharashtra Minister for Minority Development Nawab Malik on Wednesday claimed that two private individuals — a private detective facing cheating case and a BJP leader, had brought Aryan Khan and Arbaz Merchant to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) office and allegedly participated in the NCP raid.

“K.P. Gosavi claims to be a private detective while Manish Bhanushali is a BJP leader, who has been seen in photographs with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda, were part of the NCB raid. Visuals of bringing Merchant and Khan to the NCB office show that these two individuals brought them to the office. Who are they? Are private individuals allowed to be a part of drug bust raid? The NCB must explain this,” said Mr. Malik.

The NCP leader claimed that the entire case of alleged seizure of drugs and panchanama is manipulated and smells foul.

“Ever since the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, the NCB started planting stories about Bollywood and drug connection. The only motive is to defame Bollywood and subsequently Mumbai and Maharashtra to which the BJP is also a party,” he said. He said no drugs were seized at the cruise and the manipulated panchnama was made at the NCB office.

The NCB in its press release accepted that both Mr. Gosavi and Mr. Bhanushali acted as independent witnesses but termed the allegations as baseless.

Legally transparent and unbiased: NCB

“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 the NCB,” said the statement issued by Gyaneshwar Singh, Deputy Director General, NCB. He said the NCB’s procedure has been and will continue to be professionally and legally transparent and unbiased.

The NCB however did not answer questions on how Mr. Gosavi and Mr. Bhanushali were allowed to handle the accused and whether they were part of the raid as well.

The Congress has demanded a high-level inquiry from the State Government. “How can an accused in a cheating case and a BJP leader participate in the raid? Has the NCB given its work to the BJP? Was the motive behind this to divert attention from the Mundra port drug seizure? The allegations against the NCB are extremely serious and need to be probed,” he said.

Wanted to help NCB: BJP leader

Mr. Bhanushali, who claimed to be a trader, later in the day told media personnel that he had received information about the drugs on the cruise and had approached the NCB on October 1. “I was taken along by the NCB because I was getting continuous information. I was with the NCB but I was not involved in the raid,” he claimed.

The BJP leader said he had met several senior party leaders as all are considered equal in his party. “I wanted to help the NCB and nothing else. I decided to help it because I am against all things which are harming the nation,” he said.

Commenting on the charge that he took the accused inside the NCB office, he said that after the raid the NCB told him that he had to come to the office for panchnama. “We were going inside the office. The road was small and that is the reason why it looks that I was taking him inside,” he claimed.


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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 9:27:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-minister-alleges-bjp-link-in-cruise-drug-bust/article36860946.ece

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