Updated: October 21, 2021 9:59:21 pm
Continuing his tirade against NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik on Thursday claimed the officer was specifically brought to the agency by the Centre post the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput after which it started “playing games with the film industry”, and sought to know the motive behind his visits to the Maldives and Dubai.
Wankhede refuted the slew of allegations made so far against him by Malik and said he has never been to Dubai though he has visited the Maldives along with his family after taking permission from the central government.
Malik also alleged that Rajput’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty was implicated in a “fake case” by the NCB.
Wankhede supervised a raid on a cruise liner off the Mumbai coast earlier this month that led to the alleged recovery of drugs, following which Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan and some other people were arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
Malik has repeatedly claimed the case related to the alleged recovery of banned drugs from the ship was “fake” and arrests were made just on the basis of WhatsApp chats.
The NCP leader’s son-in-law Sameer Khan was also arrested by the NCB in a drugs case in January this year and he was granted bail last month.
“After Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide (in June 2020), a special officer was brought in to the NCB. The suicide case was handed over the CBI, but the mystery over his suicide or murder remains unresolved. But, after that, the NCB started playing games with the film industry,” Malik claimed.
He said dozens of actors were “paraded “before the NCB merely on the basis of WhatsApp chats.
“Attempts were made to implicate certain people in false cases. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire film industry was in the Maldives. What was the officer and his family doing in the Maldives and Dubai? This has to be clarified by Sameer Wankhede,” the NCP spokesperson said.
“We demand that he clarify whether he was in Dubai,” Malik said.
Was his family there in the Maldives when the entire film industry was in the Maldives? What was the reason behind them going there? he asked.
“We are very clear. All this ‘vasuli’ (extortion) took place in Maldives and Dubai and I will release those photos,” Malik said.
On Wednesday, Malik renewed his demand to check WhatsApp chats of Wankhede, saying it will reveal how bogus the NCB cases are.
The IRS officer, speaking to the media, condemned the relentless verbal attack on him and rejected the allegations made by Malik.
“The allegations of my visit to Dubai are totally false. This is false information. I was in Mumbai on the date the minister has mentioned in his allegations and he can fully investigate it,” he said.
The photo which Malik has tweeted (to claim he was in Dubai) is from Mumbai and not Dubai, Wankhede said.
He said the NCP leader can use established mechanisms to check his location on the given date, go through data from the Mumbai airport and gather other relevant information.
Wankhede, however, said he did visit the Maldives.
“I went to the Maldives with my family after taking permission from the government,” he said, adding if Malik is linking the visit to “extortion” then it is not appropriate.
Asked whether he met any celebrity in the Maldives, Wankhede replied in the negative. “I did not meet anybody there. It was with all due permissions…everything was legal…have not done anything wrong.”
Queried about Malik’s reported remarks that Wankhede will not be in government service by the year-end, the IRS officer quipped that his wishes are with the minister, whose party is a key constituent in the Shiv Sena-led MVA government.
“He is a big minister and I am a small government servant…, if he wants to send me to jail for service to the nation, honest work and anti-drugs action then I am welcoming it,” said Wankhede.
“There has been continuous personal attack since the last 15 days against my dead mother, my retired father and my sister and I am condemning the attack,” he said.
Asked about the allegation that he was brought to the NCB to target Bollywood and “defame” Maharashtra, Wankhede said he applied to join the central agency in 2019 when “the (drugs) case (related to film industry) was not with us”.
Responding to the allegations over foreign visits, NCB Deputy Director (South Region) Ashok Mutha Jain issued a press note in which he said Wankhede joined the agency on “loan basis” on August 31, 2020, and after this he has not submitted any application for ex-India leave to Dubai.
“As per the approval of Competent Authority vide NCB Order on July 27, 2021, the officer has availed ex-lndia leave along with his family to Maldives,” the note said.
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