After a momentary lull, NCP spokesperson and state skill development minister Nawab Malik has returned to his old job of hitting the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) as he has objected to NCB advising Maharashtra Police to transfer some of the drug cases to the agency for investigation.
Malik launched a fresh Twitter war against NCB and questioned the motive and intention of the agency. He said that the NCB has no right to infringe upon the rights of state government when there is no provision in the NDPS act to do so. He said that NCB must have some ulterior motives. Malik has also shared the letter sent to the police by NCB chief Satya Narayan Pradhan.
Motive and intention of the #NCB upon reading this letter appears questionable ?— Nawab Malik نواب ملک नवाब मलिक (@nawabmalikncp) December 3, 2021
Why are they trying to infringe upon the rights of the state government when there is no provision in the NDPS act to do so ?
Is there an ulterior motive ?
NCB must answer the citizens of India pic.twitter.com/oM8IuSiDpt
It seems that other than Maharashtra, the NCB which is a central authority on drug-related matters, has asked other states also to transfer preferably three to five cases to the agency having inter-state/ international ramifications. NCB has asked the states to transfer the cases to “carry the investigations to a logical conclusion, especially in terms of identifying and unearthing the entire network. This would be in the interest of the State as well as the country as a whole,” the letter dated November 24 reads.
The NCB asked the state police to identify such cases and inform the agency preferably by December 5. The letter refers to the recently concluded DGP/IGP conference where Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed his desire that every state should identify a few such important cases for a comprehensive investigation.
Although even remotely not connected with the correspondence of NCB with Maharashtra Police DG Sanjay Pandey, Malik is annoyed and agitated. He said that NCB should explain the criteria of the top five cases, whether two grams, five grams, three tonnes seizure of the drugs,” he said.
“Or it will be based upon the mass publicity,” the minister said. he has not explained the context of the mass publicity. It can only be guessed that he might be referring to the drug case of Aryan Khan, the kid of the Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan. Awab Malik’s son-in-law Sameer Khan was also caught in a drug case.
Malik claimed that the anti-narcotic cell of Maharashtra Police have taken more actions compared to what NCB did. He asked why NCB having its own unit wants transfer of cases. He said whether NCB wanted to end the state’s autonomy or extort money.
However, the NCB chief did not respond to phone calls for his comment, but the letter has properly explained the context that it is being done on the directive of Union Minister of Home and Affairs, Amit Shah.
Amit Shah reviewed drug scenario
On November 17, the Union Home Minister had reviewed the drug scenario in the country and also the functioning of NCB. In the meeting, Shah had emphasised the need for central and state narcotics crimes investigation agencies to work in very close partnership and coordination.
The Home Minister had “stressed upon comprehensive investigations of significant drugs seizure cases having pan-India and international implications to get to the larger organised crime and terror networks/syndicates which, if not busted effectively and in time, eventually impact national security,” the letter reads.
In the letter, NCB said that Shah appreciated the role of the State Police in fighting against the drug menace. “However, it was felt that in many cases the ring leaders and financiers, especially those with multistate operations and presence in drug trafficking evaded the clutches of law, posing a serious challenge for all Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in India, including the state police,” letter read.
Letter not a direction but an advisory
Malik is trying to kick off a fresh controversy even if the letter is advisory in nature. “It is suggested that States may, where found appropriate and expedient, consider handing over such cases to NCB to undertake the task of trying to unearth the entire network,” the letter is self-explanatory in nature.
Media report quoted highly placed sources allaying objections raised by the minister. Sources said that the letter was merely a reminder to the state to consider taking help of the NCB as the latter was a competent agency having the wherewithal to investigate inter-state and international linkage.