The ruling 3-party Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Friday said it stands ‘vindicated’ after the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) gave ‘clean chit’ to Aryan Khan and five other accused in the sensational raids on a cruiser in October 2021.
The MVA allies — Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress — had slammed the NCB from day one for the swoop carried out by the agency’s then Mumbai Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede.
NCP Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik — currently in custody of the ED — had run a major expose-campaign against the NCB city head Wankhede and termed the Cordelia Cruise ship raid as a “farjiwada (fraud)” perpetrated in collaboration with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
NCP Chief Spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said that Malik’s observations of how the entire raid was conducted and selection of witnesses having ‘close affinity with BJP’ was valid and now is laid bare by the NCB.
“We have always maintained that NCB is a very credible organisation with an impeccable track record, but recent actions put a question mark on its reputation. Malik’s serious allegations against Wankhede earned the ire of some powerful people in New Delhi and he is now paying the price for speaking the truth,” said Tapase.
Congress Chief Spokesperson Atul Londhe said the cruiser raid and subsequent happenings were part of the “huge conspiracy by the BJP government misusing the central probe agencies to discredit and topple the MVA government” which have failed.
“Now, they have got a slap on their face… Instead of continuing to indulge in such tactics, it will be better if the BJP learns now that it works for the welfare of the people,” Londhe said, terming the development as ‘Satyameva Jayate’.
Sena’s MoS Kishore Tiwari said that his statements in the PIL filed by him stand ‘fully vindicated” that the entire raids was a ‘fake’ perpetrated by Wankhede and his BJP supporters to tarnish the MVA regime and hog publicity.
“I will pursue the PIL and seek criminal proceedings against Wankhede, all the BJP men who were exposed later by Minister Malik, how innocents like Aryan Khan were trapped in their extortion rackets and the fake raids, etc., till its logical conclusion,” said a grim Tiwari.
Following the NCB’s statement giving a ‘clean chit’ to Aryan and others, Malik’s Team demanded to know: “Will the NCB take action against Wankhede, his team and the private army, or will it shield the culprits.”
An NCB official said that it will prosecute only the 14 against whom solid evidence along with circumstantial evidence has been found, and charges will be dropped against the remaining (six).
He also said there was no evidence of any ‘conspiracy’, ‘international drug syndicate’, ‘common intent’, based on WhatsApp chats, etc., as claimed by the previous team led by Wankhede which probed the case.
The matter started a furious debate on social media with the NCB coming under fire for the ship raids and how its credibility lay shattered, though no prominent BJP leaders have reacted so far.