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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Mumbai cruise ship raid: NCP asks why ‘BJP leader, private citizen’ accompanied NCB

The NCB, which has arrested 16 people, including Aryan Khan, in the case, called the allegations 'baseless and prejudiced'. 

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: October 7, 2021 6:06:25 am
aryan khan, shahrukh khan sonActor Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan being escorted by NCB officials on Sunday. (Express Photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)

The Nationalist Congress Party Wednesday alleged that the men accompanying those arrested in an NCB raid on a cruise ship, including actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, had links with the BJP, with one holding the rank of BJP vice president. The NCB called the allegations “baseless and prejudiced”.

“Soon after the arrests, visuals were released showing the people arrested being taken into the NCB office. The man who is seen holding Aryan Khan’s hand and taking him inside the NCB office is a man named K P Gosavi. Subsequently there was a photo released of him with Khan inside the NCB office. NCB officials later claimed Gosavi was not an NCB official. If he was not an official, what was he doing inside the NCB office with Khan?” NCP spokesperson and Maharashtra cabinet minister Nawab Malik said.

Malik also alleged that another person holding the hand of accused Arbaaz Merchant is a BJP functionary.

“The second person who can be seen holding the hand of Arbaaz Merchant and taking him into the NCB office is Manish Bhanushali. As per his own social media feed, he holds the post of BJP vice president. There are numerous pictures of him with senior BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Devendra Fadnavis. The NCB will have to explain as to why this man was with them during the raid,” Malik said.

Malik questioned the NCB’s decision to allow men who were not part of their organisation to handle “high-profile” accused.

“Does the NCB have a policy of taking the help of private citizens for conducting such raids?” Malik asked.

He further said that Gosavi, who claims to be a detective from Malaysia, has police cases filed against him and has close association with some NCB officials. Malik also alleged Bhanushali was in Delhi and Gujarat on September 21 and 22, where he had met senior BJP leaders.

The NCP leader claimed the NCB was being used by the BJP to harass its political opponents. “The NCB is being used by the BJP to defame people. It is being used to conduct raids on people who are against the party and this entire episode is a scam,” Malik said.

The Narcotics Control Bureau has so far arrested 16 people, including Aryan Khan, in connection with the cruise ship drug raid.

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee’s chief spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “I demand a high-level inquiry by the MVA government into the collusion between NCB and BJP. How are private people a part of a NCB raid on a cruise? Why do we see a vice president of BJP taking custody of the accused and why did their vehicle have police written on it? Has NCB outsourced their job? Was this an attempt to divert attention from Mundra drug seizure?’’

State BJP chief spokesperson Keshav Upadhye, however, said “we need to support the NCB in the fight against drugs”.

“The question here is whether they want to support the fight against drugs or oppose it. We need to support the NCB in the fight against drugs. I want to ask NCP whether they just want to support Aryan Khan or is there any other motive? If the NCB feels that they must prosecute these people named by Malik, it can,’’ said Upadhye.

Aryan Khan NCB, aryan khan drugs case, NCP allegations NCB NCB DDG Gyaneshwar Singh and Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede at the presser. (Express)

The NCB held a press conference later in the day, where it said the allegations were made “as retaliation to earlier action” it had taken, and claimed the two were “independent witnesses”.

“There were 10 independent witnesses, including the two [named by NCP]. The allegations are baseless and prejudiced and as retaliation to earlier action taken by NCB. They are free to go to court. We will reply as we have followed all proper procedures,” an NCB official said.

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