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Mumbai Cruise drugs case: PIL filed in SC demanding CBI investigation


New Delhi: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Mumbai cruise drugs case has been filed in the Supreme Court, alleging that there has been interference in the on-going investigation by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). The litigation was filed by Lawyer M.L. Sharma, also seeking a direction to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to frame the national witness protection scheme, as recommended in various reports of the Law Commission.


In the PIL filed in personal capacity of Sharma, he has referred to the controversies raised by Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik against the NCB Zonal director Sameer Wankhede and others in the case, and sought a CBI investigation into the entire case, including the alleged interference of the NCB with the on-going probe.


Besides seeking CBI probe, the petition also sought a direction for providing ‘protection to all the witnesses’ to the instant case. The PIL also questioned the legality of a complaint lodged with the Mumbai Police by a local lawyer, using the alleged disclosure of a bribe saga by one of the witnesses, Prabhakar Sail, in the case.


Raising a question for adjudication by the apex court, the PIL enquired whether a minister may continue to hold his constitutional office even after ‘interfering’ with the investigation and ‘maligning’ the investigating officer. “No one is allowed to interfere in the criminal justice systems. The State and State Minister are duty bound to protect the Constitution and not interfere in the investigation and criminal process. Witnesses are liable to be protected and not to be arrested and tortured to give statements favouring the accused persons’, the PIL said.

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The NCB had busted an alleged drug party on the Cordelia Cruise ship at mid-sea off Mumbai coast on October 2, and 20 people including two Nigerian nationals were arrested in the case. The case involves Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan and others as accused, and has prompted a series of controversies putting the agency and its officials under the spotlight.


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