A day after Mohit Bharatiya, former president of Mumbai BJP’s youth wing, alleged that Dhule-based Sunil Patil was the mastermind of the cruise drug bust episode, the latter today denied the allegation.
Mr Patil claimed that the tip-off about the cruise drugs party was given to Manish Bhanushali, an NCB witness in the case, by Bhopal-based Neeraj Yadav, a BJP worker in Madhya Pradesh.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had on October 2 conducted a raid, led by its zonal director Sameer Wankhede, on a cruise ship off Mumbai coast, from which drugs were allegedly seized. Aryan Khan, son of actor Shah Rukh Khan, was arrested in the case along with 19 others, and was later granted bail by the Bombay High Court.
Mr Patil claimed that Manish Bhanushali, NCB’s witness in the cruise drugs case, had sent him a list of persons who were going to board the cruise ship, but the names of Aryan Khan and Arbaaz Merchant were not there in the list, although it contained the name of Munmun Dhamecha.
Mr Merchant and Ms Dhamecha were arrested with Aryan Khan and were later released on bail.
In an interview to a news channel, Mr Patil said, “I neither gave any tip-off about the cruise drugs party, nor am I the mastermind. The tip-off was given to Manish Bhanushali by Bhopal-based man Neeraj Yadav, a BJP worker in MP.”
Mr Patil said that on October 1, a day before the NCB raid, he, Mr Bhanushali and K P Gosavi, another witness in the case who has been arrested in a cheating case, were staying in a hotel in Ahmedabad.
“That day, Dhawal Bhanushali, a close friend of Manish Bhanushali, rang me and said that one big drug party would be held on a cruise in Mumbai and asked me whether I would like part of the raid on it, but I refused. But I knew one Sam D’Souza, who had good relations with the agency, and got him connected to them,” he said.
“Days after the raid, when I was in Ahmedabad, Manish Bhanushali and others asked me to come to Delhi to video-record my statement regarding the case as per their directions. I went to Delhi, but when I refused to video-record any statement, they beat me up,” he alleged.
On Saturday, Mr Bharatiya had alleged that Mr Patil, whose name surfaced during an investigation into corruption allegations against NCB officials, is closely associated with several NCP leaders, including former home minister Anil Deshmukh. He had also said that Mr Patil was the mastermind of the whole conspiracy of the cruise drugs case and is among the founder members of the NCP besides being closely associated with several NCP leaders for the past 20 years.
Mr Patil said that although he was associated with the NCP from 1999 to 2016, later he distanced himself from the party.
He also said that he has never met NCP minister Nawab Malik, who has levelled several allegations against Mr Wankhede.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)