Union minister Ramdas Athawale on Sunday termed the allegations levelled by Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik against NCB's zonal director Sameer Wankhede as "baseless" and "mischievous", and defended the officer saying he has not done anything wrong.
Mr Athawale also said the state government should ensure that Mr Wankhede is not harmed and that there is no threat to his life.
Mr Malik, a leader of the ruling NCP, has been repeatedly targeting the NCB and Mr Wankhede, who had supervised the raid on a cruise liner off the Mumbai coast earlier this month that led to the alleged recovery of drugs and the arrest of Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.
A few days back, Mr Malik had dubbed Mr Wankhede as "bogus" and asserted that once "proof" against him is out, he cannot remain in government service even for one day. He had also said that the officer will lose his job in one year and eventually land in jail. Mr Wankhede has, however, refuted the allegations.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr Athawale accused Mr Malik of trying to give a religious and casteist colour while targeting Mr Wankhede.
"The state government should ensure there is no threat to Wankhede's life," the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment said, adding that the NCB officer shouldn't be harmed.
Mr Athawale claimed that the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has enough proof against Aryan Khan in the cruise ship drugs case, which is why he has been denied bail.
"Wankhede hasn't done anything wrong. He and the NCB are working to save the youths from the drugs menace. Instead of supporting this, Malik is targeting Wankhede because action was taken against his son-in-law Sameer Khan. The allegations levelled by Malik against Wankhede are baseless and mischievous," he added.
The NCP leader''s son-in-law was arrested by the NCB for alleged possession of drugs in January this year and was granted bail last month.
Mr Malik has repeatedly claimed the case related to the alleged recovery of banned drugs from the cruise ship was fake and arrests were made just on the basis of WhatsApp chats.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)