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NCB let-off BJP leader's kin: Malik

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: October 09, 2021 22:23 IST
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Nationalist Congress Party leader and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik on Saturday alleged the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which had claimed to have seized drugs onboard a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast last week, had initially detained 11 persons but let off three of them, including the brother-in-law of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mohit Bharatiya, a couple of hours after the operation.


IMAGE: NCP leader Nawab Malik addresses a press conference in Mumbai on Saturday, October 9, 2021. Photograph: ANI

Bharatiya hit back saying he will file a defamation suit seeking Rs 100 crore in damages against Malik.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Malik, who is the NCP's spokesperson and a Maharashtra minister, alleged that Bharatiya's brother-in-law Rishabh Sachdeva was among those three persons.

Two others -- Pratik Gabba and Aamir Furniturewala -- who had brought Aryan Khan, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's son, to the cruise party, were released along with Sachdeva two hours after their detention, Malik said.

"The names of Pratik and Aamir figured in the ongoing hearings in the court," Malik said.

Based on a tip-off that a party was to take place on board the ship, an NCB team led by its Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede raided the Cordelia cruise last Saturday and claimed to have recovered banned drugs.

The NCP leader demanded that the call records of these three persons along with that of Wankhede be examined.

"Rishabh Sachdeva's father and uncle came to the NCB office and telephonic conversations happened between Wankhede and BJP leaders in Mumbai and Delhi from the phone of Sachdeva's father," Malik claimed.

"Why were the phones of these three persons not seized?" he asked.

According to Malik, the Mumbai police were given information that 11 persons had been detained from the cruise ship.

Malik also alleged that the NCB's raid on the cruise was 'fake, planned and conspired to defame the film industry and the Maharashtra government'.

"Selective people have been arrested...The matter is serious. CCTV footage should be taken and a detailed inquiry should be conducted," the minister alleged.

He also hit out at the BJP for attacking him over his allegations.

"The BJP says that I am attacking the NCB since my son-in-law was arrested by the agency. I have never supported my son-in-law and he will fight his case. How can I give information I have in this case to the NCB which has framed a false case. If an independent commission is set up to conduct a probe, I will do so," Malik said.

Hours after Malik's press conference, Bharatiya issued a statement accusing Malik of 'supporting drug peddlers and misusing his official post'.

He said had the NCB found any incriminating evidence against his brother-in-law Rishabh Sachdeva and his friends the agency would have prosecuted them to the full extent of the law.

"The integrity of the NCB stands unimpeached and cannot be swayed by any amount of political influence, maybe that is why Nawab Malik is so interested in targeting the NCB and its hard-working officers," he said.

Bharatiya accused Nawab Malik of misusing his official post by issuing threats and raising allegations against the premier investigating agency, the NCB.

"I shall be filing a defamatory suit for Rs 100 crore against Nawab Malik and I undertake to forward any proceeds of the said suit towards the war on drugs," he stated.

Bharatiya alleged that Malik was hitting down on the 'diligent officers of the NCB with the sole and ulterior motive of wreaking vengeance for arresting and prosecuting his son-in-law'.

"The press conference held by Nawab Malik is nothing but a lame attempt at maligning my name and more importantly, the Bharatiya Janta Party," Bharatiya said.

Bharatiya, who had served in various capacities in Maharashtra and Mumbai units of the BJP, also said he was not an office-bearer of the saffron party.

"However, I shall be a sympathiser of the Bharatiya Janta Party. The entire exercise of the press conference on question reeks of the desperation of the MVA government to falsely accuse the honest and stellar efforts of the NCB and the BJP," he said.

It is shameful that a cabinet minister is using his official post to make threats and allegations against the premier investigating agency, the NCB, for conducting unprecedented raids and investigations in a drug-riddled society, Bharatiya said.

"Instead of supporting the war on drugs, Malik sought to support drug addicts and drug peddlers alike," he added.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra BJP spokesman Keshav Upadhaye also hit out at Malik and said dragging the BJP's name will not help in getting the accused released.

"If anyone from BJP is guilty, punishment will be given," he added.

"The agencies have to present proof before the courts. If Malik is so eager to defend the accused, he should do so in the courts. He is creating doubts about the investigating agencies and unnecessarily dragging the BJP in the case," he said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2022 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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