Cruise rave party raid: Nawab Malik names BJP leader's kin 'let off' by NCB, says it must reveal facts
A day after accusing the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of letting off the brother-in-law of a key Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader after its raid on a cruise ship off Mumbai coast, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik stepped up his attack on the central agency. The NCB has so far arrested 18 people, including Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, after allegedly seizing drugs from the Goa-bound ship. “After raid on a cruise ship off Mumbai coast, NCB's Sameer Wankhede had said that 8-10 people were detained. But the truth is that 11 people were detained. Later, three people—Rishabh Sachdeva, Prateek Gaba and Amir Furniturewala—were released,” Nawab Malik was quoted as saying by ANI.
Rishabh Sachdeva is the brother-in-law of Mohit Bharatiya, a former chief of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha—the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—and Furniturewala and Gaba invited Aryan Khan at the party, alleged Nawab Malik. “We want to ask NCB that when they had detained 11 people after cruise ship raid, then on whose directions did they release the three people. We demand NCB to reveal the facts. We think there might have been some talk between Sameer Wankhede and BJP leaders,” Malik added. “Mumbai Police Anti Narcotics Cell should conduct an independent investigation into this. I will write to CM also. If required, an inquiry commission should be set up to probe the raids.”
On Friday, Malik alleged that two were let off by the NCB after “intervention from higher level” and also targeted the agency’s zonal director Sameer Wankhede, saying the officer should clarify how many phone calls he had received during the detention and on whose direction the “high-profile detainees” were allowed to go. The allegations by the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party against the NCB comes a day after the income tax department raided the premises of commercial entities linked to its party leader and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. Nawab Malik also said the motive behind the I-T department's raids on entities linked to Pawar was to malign him.
Before this, Malik produced video footage on the involvement of two men in the arrest of the accused after the raid on the cruise ship from where drugs were seized on October 2. The footage showed that a BJP officer-bearer, Manish Bhanushali, and a person named Kiran Gosavi, who faces criminal cases, were part of the NCB team which had arrested actor Shahrukh Khan’s son Aryan and actor Arbaaz Merchant for their alleged involvement in the rave party.
The BJP, however, hit back on Friday, saying that the ruling party’s claims against the NCB were "baseless", and added that Malik "vents out" his anger against the agency due to personal reasons.
Notably, Malik's son-in-law Sameer Khan was arrested by the NCB on January 13 this year in an alleged drugs case. He got bail in September. The NCP shares power with the Shiv Sena and the Congress in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.