BJP demands CBI probe into Sail’s allegations; ruling parties bat for SIT
A day after a key witness in the cruise drug bust case, Prabhakar Sail, levelled allegations against NCB sleuths, ruling parties have demanded for a high-level inquiry, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asked for a CBI inquiry into the claims, saying the ruling parties were behind the retraction of the witness.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday lauded the “bravery” of Sail and demanded security as he is a key witness in the case. The Sena leader also demanded a probe by a special investigation team (SIT) on the recent developments, stating it was a conspiracy to defame Maharashtra by BJP and central agencies “under the garb of nationalism”.
Sail, on Sunday alleged that he was made to sign on blank papers as panch (witness) on the night the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) official conducted a raid at the International Cruise Terminal, Green Gate,on October 2 and arrested Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, his friend Arbaaz Merchant and fashion designer Munmun Dhamecha. Sail, 40, claimed that he used to work as a bodyguard of KP Gosavi, one of the nine witnesses in the case.
“He is a key witness in this case and the home department must provide him security. I have spoken to home minister Dilip Walse-Patil. The witness has brought to light this conspiracy by one political party with the help of a few officials to defame Maharashtra. Prabhakar Sail has done a great service to the country and the state. Therefore, the state must provide him security and I am confident it will be provided.”
In the backdrop of the developments and demand of the probe by the Maharashtra police, Walse Patil held a meeting with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. Walse Patil said that Sail has been given police protection after his request. “I will speak to Malik about his allegations after he is back in Mumbai. I am not aware about the allegations. There is no formal complaint lodged by Sail to begin any investigation into it,” he said.
According to officials from the home department, Walse Patil discussed the new turn in the cruise drug-bust case with the CM.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and water resource minister Jayant Patil said that appropriate steps will be taken (by state government)in this entire episode. “The revelations related to the Sameer Wankhede’s certificates, allegations levelled against him by Prabhakar Sail are very serious. Nawab Malik has produced all the required documents to corroborate the claims. It appears that Wankhede used his (forged) birth certificate to get the benefits of backward class quota in service. I think after the use of CBI, enforcement directorate, Income Tax failed to destabilise the government, they are using UCB to defame Mumbai, Maharashtra and the film industry here. There will appropriate steps taken in this,” he said.
Referring to a video, Sanjay Raut said that the entire case is also about money laundering. “Sam D’Souza is the biggest money-laundering player of Mumbai and the country. He launders money for political leaders, IAS-IPS officers. It’s a big game which has just started. The facts which came to light are shocking. Under the pretext of nationalism, some people are extorting money, lodging fake cases,” Raut said.
The Sena chief spokesperson added that the “thread” of case will go “right up to Delhi”. “The things that have come to light are startling and it is now seen what under the garb of nationalism by political parties, administration and central agencies. I think there should be a SIT probe on this matter,” he said. Reacting to the letter by NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede to “ensure that no precipitate legal action is carried out” against him by “unknown persons” with “ulterior motives” to frame him, Raut said, “If he’s not done anything then he need not worry.”
BJP has hit back raising questions over the intention of the leaders from the ruling parties and has demanded a CBI probe in the entire episode of Sail’s retraction from his earlier stand.
BJP has hit back at the ruling parties questioning as to who is behind the rebuttal of witness Prabhakar Sail. “It needs to come to the light that who is behind Sail’s statement and in which hotel the statement of Sail recorded? Shielding the drug mafia is the real intention behind it? Is Sail being threatened to become part of the extortion ring of ruling party? The entire episode needs to be investigated by CBI to check all these links. His mobile locations and call records need to be check to find out who were in the contact of the witness for last 22 days. We firmly believe that the truth will prevail,” said BJP leader Ram Kadam.
BJP leader and former MP Kirit Somaiya said that the NCB and its officer Wankhede are being targeted to divert the attention from the corruption cases against state government ministers. “There are 23 cases of corruption worth Rs25,000 crore by the ministers and leaders from the ruling parties in the state. By propping up things related to Aryan Khan, the ruling parties are trying to divert the attention of the people from corruption cases. The top leaders of the ruling parties have seen the action coming straight them in these cases and hence the non-issues are being blown up,” he said.