In the latest development in the Mumbai cruise drug raid case, the Narcotic Control Bureau on Saturday said that a total of 9 independent witnesses were involved in the operation. NCB Dy DG Gyaneshwar Singh while talking to the media said, Manish Bhanushali and KP Gosavi were among the independent witnesses.
He also clarified that none of the independent witnesses including these two persons were known to NCB prior to this operation.
Explaning the procedure of the independent witnesses, Gyaneshwar Singh said the field verification of the witnesses is not possible as the main focus was on the operation and drugs recovery.
The Central Agencies clarification comes after the Maharashtra Cabinet Minister and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik today alleged that there exists a connection between the Zonal Director of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Mumbai unit and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
"We think there might have been some talks between Sameer Wankhede and BJP leaders," he added.
"After the raid on a cruise ship off Mumbai coast, NCB's Sameer Wankhede had said that eight to ten people were detained. But the truth is that 11 people were detained. Later, three people; Rishabh Sachdeva, Prateek Gaba and Amir Furniturewala were released," he claimed.
The NCP leader demanded an independent investigation into the case and said, "Mumbai Police Anti Narcotics Cell should conduct an independent investigation into this. I will write to CM also. If required, an enquiry commission should be set up to probe the raids." Malik has been consistently alleging a connection between the BJP and the NCB.
Earlier, Malik also alleged that the investigating agency is trying to frame Aryan Khan, and said that they should be ready for a legal battle.
Citing a video in which those detained from the Mumbai cruise were seen being taken to the NCB office, Malik alleged that "the person taking him to the office is a BJP leader Manish Bhanushali." Notably, Bhanushali accepted the allegation and said that it was him in the video, but was onboard 'for updated information".
NCB team busted an alleged drugs party on the Cordelia Cruise ship which was on its way to Goa at mid-sea on October 2 night.
A total of 18 people, including a Nigerian national, have been arrested in the case related to the seizure of drugs following a raid at a party on a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast.