NCP alleges raid on cruise ship was fake, NCB terms allegations as baseless

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By Meetu Jain

NEW DELHI, 6 October 2021: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alleged on Wednesday that the NCB’s raid on a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast on October 2 was fake, and no narcotic drugs were found during the raid.

The drama (the raid) was fake. They did not find drugs on the ship, NCP spokesperson and Maharashtra Minorities Affairs Minister Nawab Malik said at a press conference in Mumbai.

The party also questioned the presence of two persons along with the NCB team during the raid and alleged that one of them was a BJP member.

The BJP said in its reaction that had there been no evidence, the court would have granted bail to Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan in the case. The Narcotics Control Bureau had however admitted before a Mumbai court that no drugs had been found on Khan, only some “incriminating material” on his phone.

The NCB termed Malik’s allegations as baseless. The NCB has so far arrested 17 people, including Aryan Khan, after allegedly seizing drugs from the Goa-bound ship on Saturday.

The NCP however released a few videos, purportedly of the raid. A man named ‘Gosavi’ who is seen escorting Aryan Khan in one of the videos was not an NCB official, and his social media profile states that he is a private detective based in Kuala Lumpur, the NCP leader alleged.

Further, two men are seen escorting Arbaaz Merchant, also arrested in the case, in another video, and one of them is a member of the BJP, Malik alleged.

If these two men are not officials of the NCB, then why were they escorting two high-profile people (Khan and Merchant),” he asked.

The man seen with Merchant was in Gujarat on September 21-22 and could be connected to the seizure of about 3,000 kilograms of heroin at Mundra Port, Malik claimed, asking the BJP to come clear on this person’s credentials.

“The entire NCB is being used by the BJP to malign the Maharashtra government and Bollywood,” he said, alleging that the anti-drug agency was targeting those who are against the saffron party.

Notably, Malik’s son-in-law Sameer Khan had been arrested by the NCB on January 13, 2021, in an alleged drug case. He got bail in September.

However, Deputy Inspector General of NCB Gyaneshwar Singh said in a statement issued by the agency that “some allegations” levelled against agency were baseless, and might have been made “in retaliation against earlier legal actions” carried out by it.

Its procedure “has been and will continue to be professionally and legally transparent and unbiased,” the statement said.

“Individuals named as Prabhakar Sail, Kiran Gosavi, Manish Bhanushali, Aubrey Gomez, Adil Usmani, V Waigankar, Aparna Rane, Prakash Bahadur, Shoib Faiz and Muzammil Ibrahim were associated with NCB as independent witnesses (panchas), ” the agency said.
Bhanushali tried to distance himself from the BJP and said he held no official position in the party. His twitter handle is @manishbjp and in 2019 he claimed to be a member of the BJP’s youth wing in Maharashtra. There are numerous photographs of him with senior BJP leaders as well as with Kiran Gosavi, the person who first shared a selfie he took with Aryan Khan on the ship.

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