Was BJP leader's brother-in-law among two let off by NCB after cruise ship raid in Mumbai?

Saffron party calls claim ‘baseless’

Was BJP leader's brother-in-law among two let off by NCB after cruise ship raid in Mumbai?

Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khans son Aryan Khan being taken to Arthur Road jail from Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) office after being arrested in connection with the alleged seizure of banned drugs from a cruise ship, in Mumbai, Friday, Oct 8, 2021. PTI

Mumbai, October 8

Stepping up its attack on the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), the NCP on Friday alleged that the anti-drug agency let off two persons after a raid on a cruise ship off Mumbai coast recently, with one of them being the brother-in-law of a “high-profile” BJP leader.

Targeting NCB’s zonal director Sameer Wankhede, NCP spokesperson and Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik also raised questions over the conduct of the agency officials.

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The BJP, however, hit back saying that the ruling NCP’s claims against the NCB were “baseless”, and added that Malik “vents out” his anger against the agency due to his personal reasons.

Malik alleged, “After the raid, NCB officer Sameer Wankhede said 8-10 people were held. How can an official who conducts an entire operation give an indefinite answer? If 10 people were held, then why were two people let off? And of the two, one was brother-in-law of a high-profile BJP leader.” 

The allegations by the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) against the NCB, a central agency, comes a day after the I-T Department raided the premises of commercial entities linked to its party leader and state Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

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Malik said he would address a press conference on Saturday to reveal the name of the BJP leader whose brother-in-law was let off by the NCB.

He said the motive behind the I-T Department’s raids on entities linked to Pawar was to malign him.

On Wednesday, Malik had dubbed the NCB’s October 2 raid on the cruise ship as “fake” and alleged that no narcotic drugs were found during it.

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.

Notably, Malik’s son-in-law Sameer Khan had been arrested by the NCB on January 13 this year in an alleged drugs case. He had got bail in September.

Reacting to Malik’s allegations, BJP leader Pravin Darekar asserted that the NCP’s claims against the NCB were “baseless”.

Darekar, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, said it was improper to raise doubts against the agencies like the NCB, which is involved in curbing the menace of drugs.

“He (Malik) is making only political statements. The claims made by Malik are baseless. If he has any proof, then he should give inputs to the investigating agency,” he said.

“Nawab Malik and NCB’s relation is well-known. I don’t want to talk about his son-in-law. Whenever he (Malik) gets a chance, he tries to vent out his anger against the NCB. The NCB has very clearly clarified its stand,” the BJP leader added.

The NCP shares power with the Shiv Sena and the Congress in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state, while the BJP sits in the opposition. PTI

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