NCB says two 'outsiders' were 'independent witnesses', hits back at NCP
Mumbai, October 6, 2021
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) said on Wednesday that two persons -- Manish Bhanushali and Kiran Gosavi -- were among more than half a dozen of its 'independent witnesses' during the October 2 raid on a rave party on a luxury ship, and hit back at the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for levelling allegations against it.
Scoffing at the charges levelled by NCP national spokesperson and state minister Nawab Malik, NCB Deputy Director-General Gyaneshwar Singh termed them as "baseless, with malice to malign the agency's image and in retaliation against an earlier action of the NCB".
On Wednesday afternoon, Malik had made the sensational claim that a BJP "vice-president", Manish Bhanushali, and a "private detective", Kiran Gosavi, were involved in the NCB operation on Sunday.
Terming the NCB raid as "fraudulent", he had also raised questions over the NCB's seizures, not following due processes of law, and allegedly involving "outsider private persons" in its operations.
The NCB has asserted that it functions in a professional and legally transparent manner, and carries out its duties without any bias, and that even the "panchnamas" were done as per the law.
Singh aded that, following a tip-off, the NCB raided the Cordelia cruise ship at the International Cruise Terminal on October 2 and apprehended eight persons, including Aryan Khan, the son of superstar Shah Rukh Khan, Vikrant Chhokar, Ishmeet Singh Chadha, Arbaaz A Merchant, Mohak Jaiswal, Munmun Dhamecha and Nupur Satija, besides seizing various drugs like cocaine, mephedrone, charas, hydroponic weed and MDMA, along with cash worth Rs 1,33,000.
After Mohak Jaiswal's interrogation, the NCB raided a place in Jogeshwari and caught a peddler named Abdul Kadir Shaikh and recovered ecstasy and commercial quantity of mephedrone from his possession on October 3.
Later, after questioning Ishmeet Singh Chadha, the NCB nabbed a peddler named Shreyas Surendra Nair and recovered charas from his possession on Monday.
Subsequently, the agency on Monday caught Manish Rajgaria, invited as guest in the ship, and recovered hydroponic weed or multi-strain cannabis, before nabbing Avin Sahu, who sailed in the ship, on consumption charges.
In a follow-up, the NCB arrested four persons, namely Gopal Jee Anand, Samir Sehgal, Manav Singhal and Bhaskar Arora, from a Delhi-based event management company, followed by the nabbing of Achit Kumar with hydroponic weed from Powai on Tuesday.
Singh said that the 'independent witnesses' included Kiran Gosavi, Manish Bhanushali, Prabhakar Sail, Aubrey Gomez, Adil Usmani, V. Waigankar, Aparna Rane, Prakash Bahadur, Shoib Faiz and Muzammil Ibrahim.
"Some allegations levelled against the NCB are baseless and seem to be with malice and probable prejudice that may have been harboured in retaliation against earlier legal actions carried out by the NCB," Singh said.
Meanwhile, Bhanushali spoke to a private Marathi TV channel and said that he had given the tip-off about the rave party to the NCB and was accompanying them as a "witness" to affix his signature on the relevant case papers.
Defending the NCB, BJP's Leaders of Opposition (Assembly) Devendra Fadnavis and Pravin Darekar (Council) dismissed Malik's charges as arising out of "frustration" for the agency's action of nabbing his son-in-law in January 2021 in a drugs case.