Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik on Wednesday alleged that a Bharatiya Janata Party leader and a private investigator were among those who took part in the Narcotics Control Bureau raid on Sunday during which actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan was detained, the Maharashtra Times reported.
Malik said the two men were Manish Bhanushali, a national vice-president of the BJP, and KP Gosavi, a private investigator, according to The Indian Express.
During a press conference, Malik also showed photos of Bhanushali with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Malik questioned whether the Narcotics Control Bureau has the authority to allow private citizens to take part in raids or to take their help for such operations, according to Marathi news channel Zee 24 Taas.
“If the NCB has such authority, which law provides for it?” Malik asked. “For the past [one] year, the BJP has been engaging in fraudulent activities in order to defame the Maharashtra government and the Mumbai film industry. The whole drama that took place on October 3 was also fake.”
The NCP leader also alleged that the Narcotics Control Bureau had not seized the drugs that it showed to mediapersons from the cruise ship, the Maharashtra Times reported. He further alleged that the raid did not follow legal formalities.
The Narcotics Control Bureau had on Sunday morning held Aryan Khan and seven others after it raided a party on the cruise ship off the coast of Mumbai. All of them have been sent to the agency’s custody till October 7.
But on October 4, the agency had itself admitted before a court in Mumbai that it recovered no illegal drugs from Aryan Khan, India Today reported. It only claimed that it had found “incriminating material” on his phone.
Meanwhile, Bhanushali on Wednesday claimed he held no official position in the BJP, ANI reported.
“I gave this information [about drugs] as being an active citizen of the country,” he said.
Bhanushali added that he would file defamation case against Malik. “He has put my life in danger,” he alleged. “I will request [the] authority to provide me security.”
He gave a conflicting statement to India Today, saying that he was a loyal worker of the BJP.
In 2019, Bhanushali had claimed to be a representative of the BJP’s youth wing in Maharashtra, Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair pointed out in a tweet.
Meanwhile, Gosavi was seen in a selfie he had clicked with Aryan Khan inside the Narcotics Control Bureau office, reported The Indian Express. The anti-narcotics agency said he was not a member of its team.
The revelations have raised questions about the agency’s handing of the cases.
The Narcotics Control Bureau’s handbook for officers says: “The arresting officer who has signed the arrest Memo is deemed to have his [the accused person’s] custody till his production before the magistrate. Therefore, he is responsible for the arrestee’s safety and well-being.”
Also, according to Section 59 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, an officer who fails to perform his duties could be punished with a jail term of upto a year or a fine.
The agency said on Wednesday that it had done everything according to the law, ANI reported. “If they [the NCP] want to go the court, they can go and seek justice,” the agency’s Deputy Director General Gyaneshwar Singh said. “We will reply there.”