On October 6, eight days after his son-in-law Sameer Khan was granted bail by a court in a drug case, NCP leader and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik, while addressing a press conference, accused the regional director of the NCB. Sameer Wankhede to impose a false case and “act as”BJP pawn” to harass political opponents.
Since then, Malik has continued his attacks on the Wankhede, and in the process, has been instrumental in presenting evidence that has raised serious questions about due process in the NCB’s Cordelia cruise ship raid, which led to the Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan’s son arrested. Aryan etc.
Alleging personal hatred by Wankhede, 61-year-old Malik – a five-time MLA, Minister of Minority Affairs and Skill Development, and spokesperson of the Maha Vikas Aghadi Sarkar (MVA) – has got rowdy with a readymade platform. His campaign against Wankhede has served the three-party ruling coalition well so far, as it fits with the narrative of a central agency intent on targeting an opposition-ruled state. Malik’s harsh revelations, especially Wankhede’s alleged links with the BJP, have also given the MVA an aggressive edge it had so far lacked.
In this process, it has given the former Samajwadi Party The members – Malik joined the NCP in 2001 – have a much bigger profile than they have ever enjoyed.
Sources close to Malik claim that he got all his information from scanning television footage and checking social media footprints of people associated with the case.
Malik presented evidence that the NCB’s involvement in Aryan’s arrest was “external”, and that of the three “witnesses” of the agency, one had links with the BJP, the other wanted in fraud cases, while all three had links to Wankhede.
A central agency with immense powers for arrest and search, the NCB was forced to defend itself and issue a clarification on the integrity of the investigation.
Malik had on Monday claimed that Wankhede had forged his caste certificate in 2007 to clear the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination under the SC quota. He said he will meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil on Tuesday to demand the SIT to probe the Cordelia case.
Wankhede, an IRS officer, says Malik’s campaign against him is motivated by personal reasons, especially the arrest of Sameer Khan. Wankhede said, “NCB had acted against Nawab Malik’s relative and that is why he is targeting it.” In a complaint given to the Mumbai Police, he said that he was being chased by unknown people, even while visiting his mother’s grave.
Malik admitted that his interest in the Cordelia case was fueled by the events unfolding before his family. Sameer Khan, a businessman, spent nine months in jail after being arrested by the NCB on January 9, alleging the recovery of “commercial quantities” from one of his associates. Granting bail to Sameer Khan in September, the court said that no case of illegal drug trafficking or conspiracy was made out against him.
“My son-in-law was falsely implicated to malign my image as I was fighting the BJP. The court order showed that there was no truth in the NCB’s claim of confiscation of ganja and it was in fact herbal tobacco. Indian Express.
While Sameer Khan was out now, he said, he would continue to “expose the workings of the NCB” for using “suspicious” tactics to target people.
But interestingly, even now, the MVA, including the NCP, is largely content to be Malik’s sole voice – giving some weight to the notion that he has a personal campaign. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had said in Pune last week that he did not want to speak on the issue. An NCP leader said, “Only NCP chief Sharad Pawar and CM Thackeray have spoken.”