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Nawab Malik targets NCB's Sameer Wankhede over independent witness link

Source: PTI
October 16, 2021 19:35 IST
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Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik on Saturday asked why the NCB's zonal director Sameer Wankhede used a "family friend" as an independent witness in three investigations.

IMAGE: NCP leader Nawab Malik while addressing a press conference in Mumbai . Photograph: ANI

Talking to reporters in Mumbai, Malik demanded to know the connection between Wankhede and one of the 'panchas' or independent witnesses used by the Narcotics Control Bureau during its recent raids.

 

Wankhede is in news after he led a raid on a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast earlier this month and arrested actor Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan among others following alleged drug seizure.

Independent witnesses which are present at crime scenes should have no prior connection to the investigation agency, said Malik, the state minority affairs minister.

But this particular witness had been seen in pictures with Wankhede's family members in the past, the NCP leader alleged.

"How can you have your family friend as an independent witness," he asked.

Courts have observed in many rulings that if a witness is found to be involved in multiple cases probed by an agency, his or her credibility is nil, Malik said.

The NCP leader also alleged that the witness he was referring to had been seen in pictures with a "lady don" linked to the film wing of a political party.

While Wankhede was not available for comment, another NCB official claimed that the witness Malik was referring to was a former Army officer.

He also claimed that the law does not bar Pancha witnesses from appearing in more than one investigations. It was unfortunate that families of investigating officials were being dragged into controversy in this way, the official told PTI.

Meanwhile, replying to another question Malik claimed that "Maharashtra, Punjab and West Bengal" (which have non-BJP governments) will dislodge the BJP government at the Centre.

Asked about BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis' statement that had the BJP used -- as alleged -- central agencies against the Maharashtra government, half the cabinet would have been in jail, Malik said the state government will not be cowed down even if the saffron party conspired to send the entire cabinet to jail.

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