Is there a BJP ‘hand’ in Mumbai cruise drug raid? NCP thinks so

BJP leader Manish Bhanushali said he did not take part in the raid but gave a tip off to NCB

Aryan Khan was arrested in connection with the Cordelia cruise drugs case | Photo: Twitter

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Maharashtra spokesperson Nawab Malik has accused BJP leaders of being part of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) raid that happened on a Mumbai cruise last Saturday and led to the arrest of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan.

Malik showed several pictures of two men, who he claimed were close to BJP’s top leadership, present during the arrest of Aryan Khan and his friend Arbaaz Merchantt.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday (October 6), Malik said that a person named KP Gosavi was seen bringing in Aryan Khan to the NCB office. Gosavi also clicked a selfie with Aryan which has gone viral since then. The NCB, however, distanced itself from Gosavi, saying he was not one of their personnel.

Malik, who is a minority development minister in Maharashtra, also showed a video grab of Arbaaz Merchantt being escorted by a person named Manish Bhanushali, who is the vice-president of some BJP unit. Malik then displayed old pictures of Gosavi and Bhanushali with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

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Malik said the NCB should explain what ‘outsiders’ were doing during a high-profile NCB raid. The minister further said that Bhanushali was in Gujarat on September 21 and 22 when drugs were seized at the Mundra port. “He (Bhanushali) was in Gujarat Mantralaya till September 28 and then went to Delhi. What was Bhanushali doing in Gujarat? Why was he meeting Gujarat ministers?” Malik asked.

Also read: Mumbai cruise drugs party: Aryan Khan arrested, taken to court with 2 others

Malik called the NCB’s Saturday night raid as “fake” claiming no drugs were seized from the cruise. “All the photos released are ones clicked in the NCB office. This is just a ploy to frame Bollywood celebrities and defame the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra,” said Malik.

Bhanushali’s response

Manish Bhanushali spoke to India Today after Malik’s charge. “I had received information that some drug party was happening on the cruise ship. This is affecting the youth of our country and so those responsible for this should be punished and that will help stop drug abuse. Based on that, we approached officers and they said that if your information is confirmed then we will surely take action,” he said.

Bhanushali said that Gosavi and he were then called in as witnesses to sign at the NCB office. “We were not taking the accused, but just accompanying them to the office, we were going with them to the NCB office. KP Gosavi is a friend and he accompanied me. Now the accused are in custody till October 7, we will return to Mumbai and record our statement with NCB,” Bhanushali said.

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