Malik attacks Wankhede over foreign trips, NCB says Maldives visit got its nod
Mumbai, October 21, 2021
NCP leader and Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik on Thursday demanded to know what NCB's Mumbai zone chief Sameer Wankhede was doing in Dubai and the Maldives with his family during the COVID-19 lockdown, and threatened him with jail for "concocting drugs cases against Bollywood personalities".
While Wankhede dismissed Malik's allegations, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) said that the former has never been to Dubai while with the agency, but had visited the Maldives after taking permission.
In a dual attack, Malik shared photos of Wankhede's family holidaying in the Maldives when Bollywood stars were also there.
"It's very clear that all this 'vasuli' (extortion) took place in Maldives and Dubai. I am releasing the photos. What was he doing in Maldives-Dubai, he must answer," Malik said at a public rally in Pune amid a thunderous applause.
Daring Wankhede to come clean on his foreign sojourns with his family, Malik, who is the national spokesperson of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), said that attempts were being made to implicate certain film personalities in fake cases and parade them before the NCB.
"Along with some BJP people, Wankhede is threatening the film industry people... I am repeating - he keeps filing false cases and arresting people based on WhatsApp chats and without any evidence. I am going to reveal more on this," he said.
The NCP leader declared that soon he will "expose Wankhede with full proof on all the fake cases with which he's trying to instil fear in Bollywood", for which he would pay a heavy price.
"Within six months, he will lose his job and within a year, he will be jailed. I am collecting evidence against him," he said.
He also released some photos of Wankhede's sister Jasmeen Wankhede, ostensibly shot in Maldives.
Malik's statements evoked angry reaction from the opposition Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's (MNS) film wing chief Ameya Khopkar, who cautioned the NCP leader "to keep off and stop dragging" his party colleague (Jasmeen Wankhede) into his politics.
Jasmeen Wankhede also hit back, asking whether "Malik is a judge", and said she was accountable to her family or friends and the NCP leader had no business to make public her private trip.
BJP state President Chandrakant Patil said that Malik is rattled by the arrest of his son-in-law and has been slamming the NCB since the past two weeks.
The war between NCB and NCP erupted after the probe agency raided a rave party aboard a cruise ship and arrested eight persons, including Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan, all of whom are now in judicial custody till October 30.
Later, the NCB nabbed 12 others, and on Thursday, actress Ananya Panday was summoned for probe, which will continue further on Friday.
An irked Wankhede roundly flayed the personal attacks by Malik on him, his sister, his retired 77-year-old father and deceased mother in the past fortnight.
"I strongly condemn all this. I don't know why the minister is doing all this. The cases are sub-judice. I will give a suitable reply at the appropriate time," Wankhede said, speaking briefly with mediapersons late on Thursday evening.
He said that, since he is a serving government officer, he would seek the advice of his seniors and then proceed against Malik legally.
The NCB also came to Wankhede's aid by issuing a statement which said that he did not apply for going to Dubai after he joined the agency on deputation for six months on August 31, 2020.
However, as per the NCB's approval granted on July 27, 2021, Wankhede had gone to the Maldives with his family, NCB's Deputy Director-General of South West Region, Mutha Ashok Jain, said in a statement.
On Malik's charges of "lodging fake cases" against Bollywood personalities for 'vasuli', Wankhede said he was not indulging in some child's play, but attempting to cleanse Maharashtra and Goa of the drugs menace.
Wankhede said that he is an ordinary government servant trying to do his duties, and far from being demoralised by Malik's attacks, he would continue to perform with renewed vigour against the drug mafias.