‘Drugs on cruise case’ turning out to be an all out battle between MVA-ruled Maharashtra and Modi govt

Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi has time and again stated that Central agencies were unfairly targeting it through false propaganda and defamation aimed at dislodging it from power

Aryan Khan in NCB custody
Aryan Khan in NCB custody

Nadeem Inamdar

The Cordelia drugs-on-cruise case in Mumbai involving Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, is turning out be an all out Maharashtra versus Centre battle. This was in the works since the alleged suicide case of actor Sushant Singh Rajput was probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), all controlled by PM Narendra Modi-led Central government.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has time and again stated that the Central agencies were engaged in unfairly targeting the state government through false propaganda and defamation aimed at dislodging it from power.

However, the state gained an upper hand after Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik went hammer and tongs against NCB’s Mumbai Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede.

After a selfie of a private detective, K P Gosavi, with Aryan Khan went viral on social media, it came to light that a cheating case was already lodged against him at Faraskhana Police Station in Pune and he has been on the run for the past two years. Gosavi, whom the NCB cited as a ‘key witness’ in the Cordelia cruise drug case, was arrested by Pune Police on Thursday morning.

Gosavi’s bodyguard Prabhakar Sail, who is another witness in the case, has stated in an affidavit that he had heard that Rs 25 crore was demanded by an NCB official and others, including Gosavi , to let Aryan off in the drug case. The notarized affidavit says that another person, identified as Sam, and Gosavi in a conversation demanded Rs 25 crores but agreed to settle the amount at Rs 18 crore.

Sail has contended that he heard Gosavi say that Rs 8 crores will be given to Wankhede and the remaining amount will be shared amongst others.

Sail also shared a video he shot secretly where Gosavi is seen making Aryan speak to somebody on his device.

According to political observers, Gosavi is the key person through which the state is expected to score several brownie points over the Centre.

Malik has aggressively gone ahead with a slew of explosive allegations against Wankhede. He alleged that Wankhede had forged his caste certificate to get into the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) under Scheduled Caste category.

He has raised pertinent questions over private persons – K P Gosavi and former BJP office bearer Manoj Bhanusali – escorting Aryan Khan to NCB office.

Malik also shared Wankhede’s ‘Nikah’ photos on Twitter and further alleged that he had planted drugs and foisted false cases on his victims. He alleged that the NCB under Wankhede had extorted Rs 1000 crore from various Bollywood personalities in Maldives, a charge vehemently denied by Wankhede.

Malik had earlier alleged that Wankhede was specifically brought into the NCB after the death of Sushant Singh Rajput last year and his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty was implicated in a fake case by the NCB.

During the entire two year course of investigation in that case, till the grant of bail to Chakraborty, the Maharashtra Government was on the defensive facing the onslaught of the Central agencies.

Earlier, when the Maharashtra Government decided to establish an SIT to probe the Elgar Parishad case, the Centre acted swiftly to hand over the case to the NIA.

The Union government also directed the NIA to probe the Antilia Bomb Scare case allegedly involving police officers Sachin Waze and Parambir Singh.

Ever since the formation of a three party MVA government in 2019, the coalition has been at loggerheads with the Central government. The Centre deployed the Enforcement Directorate against former home minister Anil Deshmukh of NCP, Anil Parab of Shiv Sena, Sena MP Bhavana Gawali and senior leader Anandrao Adsul.

Recently, the IT Department had raided the residences and business establishments of family members and relatives of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. Following the raids, Pawar had said that he was unhappy that this family members were ‘targeted’ by the Centre.

Even NCP Chief Sharad Pawar has publicly stated that the NCB, the Enforcement Directorate, the CBI and the Income Tax Department were being used to target the Opposition parties in power in Maharashtra.

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