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Union Minister Athawale says NCB’s Wankhede has not done anything wrong, slams Nawab Malik for targeting him

Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale. File.   | Photo Credit: KVS GIRI

Targeting a Dalit officer who is doing good work is not right, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale said on Sunday in the wake of Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik's allegations against NCB's zonal director Sameer Wankhede.

Terming Mr. Malik's allegations against Mr. Wankhede as "baseless" and "mischievous", Mr. Athawale defended the officer saying he has not done anything wrong.

He also said that the NCP, of which Mr. Malik is a leader and spokesperson, should clarify if his criticism of Mr. Wankhede was personal or is it the official stand of the party or that of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.

"Wankhede is a Dalit officer, who is doing good work to rid the society of the drug menace and it is not right to target him," the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment said in a press conference here.

Mr. Malik has been repeatedly targeting the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and Wankhede, who had supervised the raid on a cruise liner off the Mumbai coast earlier this month that led to the alleged recovery of drugs and the arrest of Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.

Mr .Malik has also claimed that the case related to the alleged recovery of banned drugs from the cruise ship was "fake" and arrests were made just on the basis of WhatsApp chats.

A few days back, Mr Malik had dubbed Mr. Wankhede as "bogus" and asserted that once "proof" against him is out, he cannot remain in government service even for one day. He had also said that the officer will lose his job in one year and eventually land in jail. Mr. Wankhede has, however, refuted all the allegations.

Mr. Athawale accused Mr. Malik of trying to give a religious and casteist colour while targeting Mr. Wankhede.

"Wankhede hasn't done anything wrong. He and the NCB are working to save the youths from the drugs menace. Instead of supporting this, Malik is targeting Wankhede because action was taken against his son-in-law Sameer Khan. The allegations levelled by Malik against Wankhede are baseless and mischievous," he added.

The NCP leader's son-in-law was arrested by the NCB for alleged possession of drugs in January this year and was granted bail last month.

"The State government should ensure that here is no threat to Wankhede's life," the Minister said, adding that the NCB officer shouldn't be harmed.

Mr. Athawale claimed that the NCB has enough proof against Aryan Khan in the cruise drugs case, which is why he has been denied bail by the court.

He said Aryan khan should be sent to a drug rehabilitation centre to cure himself of addiction.

The Bombay High Court will hear Aryan's bail plea on October 26.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 12:55:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/union-minister-athawale-says-ncbs-wankhede-has-not-done-anything-wrong-slams-nawab-malik-for-targeting-him/article37149675.ece

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