NCP leader Nawab Malik on Saturday claimed that the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had initially detained 11 persons from a Goa-bound cruise ship off Mumbai coast last week, but let off three of them, including the brother-in-law of BJP leader Mohit Bharatiya, a couple of hours later.
Addressing a press conference here, Malik, who is NCP's spokesperson and a Maharashtra minister, alleged that Bharatiya's brother-in-law Rishabh Sachdeva was among those three persons.
Two others - Pratik Gabba and Aamir Furniturewala - who had brought Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, to the cruise party, were released along with Sachdeva two hours after their detention, he said.
When contacted, Bharatiya declined to immediately comment on the NCP's allegation, but his office said he would hold a press conference later in the day.
"The names of Pratik and Aamir figured in the ongoing hearings in the court," Malik said.
Malik had earlier announced that on Saturday he would reveal the name of the BJP leader, whose brother-in-law, he claimed, was let off by the anti-drug agency.
Based on a tip-off that a party was to take place on board the ship, an NCB team led by its zonal director Sameer Wankhede had raided the Cordelia cruise last Saturday and claimed to have recovered banned drugs. A total of 18 persons have been arrested in the case, including Aryan Khan.
The NCP leader demanded that the call records of these three persons along with that of Wankhede be examined.
"Rishabh Sachdeva's father and uncle came to the NCB office and telephonic conversations happened between Wankhede and the BJP leaders in Mumbai and Delhi from the phone of Sachdeva's father," Malik claimed.
"Why were the phones of these three persons not seized?" he asked.
According to Malik, the Mumbai police were also given information that 11 persons had been detained from the cruise ship.
Malik also alleged that the NCB's raid on the cruise was "fake, planned and conspired to defame the film industry and the Maharashtra government".
"Selective people have been arrested...The matter is serious. CCTV footage should be taken and a detailed inquiry should be conducted," the minority affairs minister alleged.
He also hit at the BJP for attacking him over his allegations.
"The BJP says that I am attacking the NCB since my son-in-law was arrested by the agency. I have never supported my son-in-law and he will fight his case. How can I give information I have in this case to the NCB which has framed a false case. If an independent commission is set up to conduct a probe, I will do so," Malik said.
His son-in-law Sameer Khan had been arrested by the NCB on January 13 this year in an alleged drugs case. He had got bail in September.