NCB released 3 after BJP leaders’ call, alleges NCP

| | Mumbai
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NCB released 3 after BJP leaders’ call, alleges NCP

Sunday, 10 October 2021 | TN RAGHUNATHA | Mumbai

NCB released 3 after BJP leaders’ call, alleges NCP

Nawab Malik seeks CDR of BJP leaders, NCB zonal director 

Maharashtra’s Minister and NCP’s chief spokesperson Nawab Malik on Saturday made a sensational allegation that the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) released three persons within hours of their arrest in the mid-sea drug bust case, including Rishabh Sachdev, brother-in-law of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Mohit Kambhoj (Bharatiya), following telephone calls from the BJP leaders in Delhi and Maharashtra.

“In all 11 persons, including Aryan Khan, were detained during the raid on Cordelia Cruises’ Empress ship on the night of October 2. However, the NCB officials let off three of the detainees — Sachdev, Pratik Gaba and Amir Furniturewala — after receiving calls from BJP leaders based in Delhi and Maharashtra. Subsequently the number of detentions came down from 11 to 8.

Malik charged that several BJP leaders from New Delhi and Maharashtra had made “frantic calls” to the NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede for the release of the three detainees.

“Who were the persons calling up the NCB that night and why? The Maharashtra and Mumbai Police must probe the call detail records (CDR) data of Wankhede,  Sachdev, Furniturewala and Gabha,” Malik said.

Refuting Malik’s allegations, Deputy Director General, NCB Gyaneshwar Singh said, “A total 14 people were brought to the NCB office that day. Their statements were recorded. Eight were arrested on the basis of evidence and six were released since there was no evidence against them.”

Alluding to Malik’s allegation about the two BJP activists’ involvement in the raid, the senior NCB official said that as operations are conducted on a real-time basis, “field verification” of independent witnesses is not possible as the main focus is recovering contraband.

“A total of 9 independent witnesses were involved in the whole operation and Manish Bhanushali and KP Gosavi were among them. None of the independent witnesses, including the 2 names above, were known to NCB before 02/10/2021,” Singh said.

Earlier this afternoon, releasing videos substantiating his claim about the detention and release of the three persons, Malik said: “When Sachdev was released along with two others, his father and uncle were present with him. The names of Gaba and Furniturewala figured in the arguments during the hearing in the court. Aryan Khan had gone there upon invitation from these three”.

On the questions raised pertaining to the ‘panchnamas’, the NCB head said these are made on the respective spots so the place, timing, situation and resources may differ, but they are part of the court records and will be included in the charge-sheet in future, and also open to scrutiny at appropriate fora.

In another charge, the NCP Minister said that a BJP leader and a “so-called private detective’ Kiran P Gosavi had signed on two “panchnamas” giving different addresses of Thane and Navi Mumbai.

“While one 4-page panchnama of pages was handwritten by a NCB official Satish Kumar, the other 9-page ‘panchnama’ was typed Ashish R Prasad and was a computer printout… How did this happen?,” Malik asked.

“Normally, the ‘panchas’ prominent or respectable persons, but in this case, the NCB got at least 2 politicians — Manish Bhanushali and Gosavi. Of them, Gosavi is wanted by the Pune Police,” Malik said.   

Calling for action under section 59 of NDPS Act against culprits were involved in the cruise ship raids, State Congress spokesperson, Chavan wanted to know from the NCB who were involved in the cruise ship raids and how a relative of a BJP leader came to be released from detention and how   how BJP activists like Gosavi and Bhanushali were involved in the raids and then taken as ‘independent witnesses’

On his part, Leader of Opposition (Council) Pravin Darekar of the BJP dismissed the NCP’s allegations saying it was intended to seek publicity and arising out of frustration as Malik’s son-in-law was nabbed by the NCB in a drug case.

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