The involvement of a BJP worker and a private detective in the raid on a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast by India’s anti-drugs agency has kicked up a controversy. The Narcotics Control Bureau or NCB conducted the raid on Sunday and arrested eight people, including actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan. The NCB said drugs like ecstasy and cocaine, among others, were found at a party on the cruise ship.
Days later, videos of the raid surfaced online showing the two men escorting those who were detained that night into the NCB office.
On Tuesday, Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik told reporters that Manu Bhanushali, who was seen escorting one of the accused Arbaaz Merchant into the NCB’s office, is a BJP worker. Mr Malik also pointed out Mr Bhanushali’s photo with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah from his social media profiles.
Mr Bhanushali told NDTV that he got information from a friend outside Maharashtra that a party where drugs would be used would be held on October 1. “I am a BJP worker for the last 10-15 years, just one among the 11 crore workers. Just because I am a BJP worker, I am being targeted. Nawab Malik’s son-in-law was caught in a drugs case, that’s why he is targeting me. I only intend to save the youth of this country from the drugs menace,” Mr Bhanushali told NDTV.
On whether he knew if Aryan Khan was going to be at the party, Mr Bhanushali said, “I did not know Aryan Khan was going to be at the party. I have WhatsApp chats to prove that on my phone if an investigation takes place.”
The high-profile drug raid that led to the arrest of Aryan Khan, 23, has yielded 13 grams of cocaine, 21 grams of charas, 22 pills of MDMA and 5 grams of MD, the NCB had said.
The BJP worker who often visits Delhi said none from the party has contacted him yet, but he will speak to the “authorities”. “I will go to the authorities asking for security. The BJP has got nothing to do with the arrests. In Maharashtra, my life is under threat. I have come to Delhi for my personal security,” Mr Bhanushali said.
Earlier, NCP’s Nawab Malik had alleged that “not even a single gram of drug was seized on the cruise or at the terminal.”
“Aryan Khan’s arrest is a forgery. For the last one month, information was being circulated to crime reporters that the next target is actor Shah Rukh Khan,” said Mr Malik.