The ongoing probe by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) into the drug seizure on the cruise and the subsequent arrests on Wednesday today took a dramatic twist after Nationalist Congress Party minister Nawab Malik alleged that the events had exposed an alleged nexus between the BJP and the NCB. Malik claimed that “Aryan Khan’s arrest is a frame-up. For the last one month, information was being circulated to crime reporters that the next target was actor Shah Rukh Khan. It seems like a fake case for publicity.”
He further said, “The BJP has misused the Central agency to frame Aryan Khan. Not even one gram of drug was seized on the cruise, not even on the terminal. Drugs were not even found with any of the accused. Whatever video of the samples has been shared by the NCB, it has been made in the zonal director’s office which is against the procedure of seizure.”
However, hours after Malik’s charges, at a press conference, the NCB dismissed the allegations saying there seemed to be prejudice against it because of which such baseless claims were made. “Some allegations levelled against the organisation are baseless and seem to have been with malice and probable prejudice that may have been harboured in retaliation against earlier legal action carried out by NCB,” said NCB Deputy DG Gyaneshwar Singh. “NCB reiterates that our procedure has been and will continue to be professionally and legally transparent and unbiased,” he added.
Even though the agency did not mention the case against Malik’s son-in-law, it is likely that’s what it meant by ‘probable prejudice’.
BJP legislator Atul Bhatkhalkar slammed Malik, wondering if the latter had been given a ‘supari’ (contract) by the drug mafia. “The Thackeray government had first decided to open liquor shops in the lockdown. The same government also decided to lift the liquor ban in Chandrapur district. In the same manner, by targeting the NCB has Malik taken the side of drug mafia?’”
Earlier, Malik showed video clips in which those detained from the Mumbai cruise were seen being taken to the NCB office. He claimed that two civilians, including an individual named KP Gosavi and a BJP leader, Manish Bhanushali were seen bringing in Aryan Khan to the NCB office. He asked the NCB and the BJP to clarify in what capacity Gosavi and Bhanushali were present there.
Malik said based on his Facebook profile, Gosavi is a private investigator employed at ‘Sleuths India Detectives’, a private detective agency. He was also reportedly booked for fraud after a case was registered against him for duping a person of Rs 3 lakh on the pretext of getting him a job. He also added that as per a Pune newspaper, a case of fraud against Gosavi had been registered by Pune Police in 2018.
As far as Bhanushali is concerned, Malik showed Bhanushali’s photos with top BJP leaders including the PM, the home minister and the party’s national president. “The person seen escorting Arbaaz Merchantt to the NCB office is Manish Bhanushali, vice president of a certain wing of BJP,” said Malik, adding that the man was hopping between Gujarat and Mumbai and wanted to know what his role was in the entire operation.
Malik referred to the Sushant Singh Rajput case, saying that attempts were made to malign the name of Bollywood. “The FIR was registered in Bihar and the Bihar government had transferred the case to the CBI. Then came the news that he was murdered because of drugs. The news was planted. Attempts were made to malign the film industry. Filmstars were summoned one after the other,” he said. Mallik said that “the perception was created that Bollywood had become a nexus of drug rackets”.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Sachin Sawant has demanded that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government should conduct a probe into the alleged links between the NCB and BJP. “The connivance between the NCB and the BJP should be investigated at the highest level by the MVA government. How were private citizens present during the raids carried out by the NCB on the cruise? Why were a BJP vice-president and a fraud-accused seen taking the accused to the NCB office? How about a ‘police’ sign on their car? Has NCB given its job to BJP?” asked Sawant.