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Mumbai: Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik addresses a press conference at Kurla in Mumbai, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. Image Credit: PTI

Maharashtra cabinet minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik is in no mood to hold back and today’s explosive press conference set the perfect stage to dish out blame in the Aryan Khan drugs case with fingers firmly pointed at the Narcotics Control Bureau’s Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Mohit Kamboj. Here are the fiery statements made by Malik at the press conference.

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Shah Rukh Khan and Aryan Khan Image Credit: GN Archives

A case of ‘kidnapping and ransom’: Malik alleged that Aryan Khan’s arrest in the drugs-on-cruise case was a case of ‘kidnapping and ransom’ to ultimately extort Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan. “Aryan Khan didn’t purchase the ticket for the [Cordelia] cruise party. He was brought there by Pratik Gaba and Amir Furniturewala [two others who were detained and then let go].”

Blame game: Malik alleged a “trap was laid” by a relation of BJP leader Mohit Kamboj, a former youth wing president and general secretary of the party’s Mumbai unit. “Aryan Khan was taken there. After the initial demand of Rs25 crores [Rs250 million], the deal was settled at Rs18 crores [Rs180m]. But a selfie ruined the game and this is the truth,” he said. The selfie in question was one taken by private investigator Kiran Gosavi after Aryan was detained. Gosavi was recently arrested by the Pune police in a 2018 cheating case and has a number of fraud plaints against him in Pune, Mumbai and Thane.

Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, arrives at the NCB office to mark his weekly presence as per bail conditions set by Bombay High Court, in Mumbai, Friday, November 5, 2021.
Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, arrives at the NCB office to mark his weekly presence as per bail conditions set by Bombay High Court, in Mumbai, Friday, November 5, 2021. Image Credit: PTI

Where are the three members in the case: Speaking today, Malik alluded to his press conference he held immediately after the October 2 drug bust where he had alleged that the NCB had let off three individuals — Rishabh Sachdeva, Pratik Gaba and Amir Furniturewala — after having allegedly detained them from the Mumbai cruise party. The NCP leader said Sachdeva was Kamboj’s brother-in-law while state that the “entire [cruise drug bust] story hinged upon the letting off of these three people, including Rishabh Sachdeva.”

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Sameer Wankhede Image Credit: ANI

Wankhede and Kamboj are friends: Malik turned his accusations on both Wankhede and Kamboj saying they were friends and had good relations. Malik also stated that Kamboj owned 12 hotels in Mumbai and was believed to have shut down businesses of his competitors by lodging false cases against them using the help of Wankhede.

Clandestine meetings: The NCP leader also alleged that Kamboj and Wankhede had reportedly met outside the Oshiwara graveyard on October 7, a few days after Aryan’s arrest. “After this, Wankhede panicked and complained to the police that they were being chased. They were lucky that the nearby CCTV was not working and we couldn’t get the feed,” said Malik at the press conference.

Private army: Even as Wankhede’s father filed a defamation case against Malik in the Bombay High Court today for Rs12.5 million, Malik accused the Zonal Director of running a ‘private army’ of prominent businessmen and journalists who helped him extort top celebrities.

Shah Rukh Khan Image Credit: AP

Defending Shah Rukh Khan: Malik also claimed that Shah Rukh Khan was threatened from the very first day but has remained mum because his manager Pooja Dadlani’s name came up in allegations of extortion in the drugs case. “Giving ransom if your son is kidnapped is not a crime,” Malik said in defense of the superstar.