The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faced an apparent embarrassment on Wednesday as Riyaz Bhati, a city builder accused of links with the underworld, said he was an active member of NCP when it was founded in 1999.
The NCP clarified that Bhati was inducted in the youth wing for a period of four months and was later removed. Its spokesperson Nawab Malik, however, apologised to the people for having inducting him. Malik also insisted that Nawab Malikchief minister Devendra Fadnavis answer how Bhati secured bail in three days after being arrested at Mumbai airport for keeping two passports. He also questioned the filing of the charge sheet against the builder within a day.
Bhati made news after NCP alleged that despite having links with gangster Dawood Ibrahim, he was patronised by Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar and got inducted into BJP as well.
On Wednesday, Bhati presented an appointment letter which stated that he was appointed the general secretary of North West district of NCP’s youth wing. The letter was issued by Santosh Dhuwali president and the then working president Salim Shaikh. It did not, however, mention any date.
“I was inducted in 1999, the year NCP was founded by Sharad Pawar and was active for the next four years,” Bhati claimed.
In response, Malik claimed that the builder was a member of the youth wing of the party for only four months, in a district which comparatively had no significance. “Despite this, I apologise (on behalf of the party) for taking him into the party. But I want the CM to answer how Bhati secured bail in just three days after his arrest when he was found with two passports at the Mumbai airport?”
He added, “How was the charge sheet was filed in a day when the NCP pointed out delay in the case and on what grounds was he (Bhati) provided a security cover?”