Maharashtra Cabinet Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik was on Thursday sent to further custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) till March 7 after the agency submitted to the court that he could not earlier be interrogated effectively as he had to be admitted to a hospital due to medical issues.
The ED also told the court that its previous remand application submitted on February 23 had a typographical error. It clarified that where it was alleged that Malik had paid Rs 55 lakh in cash to Haseena Parkar, the sister of gangster Dawood Ibrahim, for the property in question in Kurla, the figure actually was Rs 5 lakh.
Special Judge R K Rokade said that since Malik was admitted to the hospital between February 25 and February 28, his statements could not be recorded. Considering this and the new facts which have emerged, the ED can be given further opportunity for his custodial interrogation till Monday, the court said.
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Malik was arrested on February 23 and sent to ED’s custody till Thursday, March 3.
On Thursday, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the court that Malik had complained of some urological problems and he was admitted to the hospital for three days. The ED recorded his statements on three occasions between February 28 and March 2. He said that the ED wants to inquire about the mode and method of payment made for the purchase of the Goawala Building and the documents of the properties. The ED has previously claimed that Rs 55 lakh was paid to Salim Patel, the driver and alleged associate of Parkar for the property.
Malik’s lawyer Anil Desai submitted that the NCP leader had lost “six days sitting in jail” with claims that Rs 55 lakh were paid towards “terror funding”. He said, “How can this be justified? How can they now say it was a typographical error?”
ASG Singh said that the ED had “come fairly” before court with the clarification. “The court did not grant (ED) his custody based only on that figure. It took into consideration overall investigation, how serious the offence is. Also, we are saying there was a transaction of Rs 5 lakh still. Even if Re 1 is given to terror funding, it needs to be investigated,” Singh told the court.
The ED also claimed that facts have emerged that Malik had “illegally occupied/usurped another property in Kurla, without there being valid documents of sale and by threatening the owners of the land”.
“Such illegally obtained property continues to be laundered by the accused and further investigation in this regard is necessary. When this victim protested, he was abducted from his home and was threatened not to get involved in the said property otherwise, (he would) have to face consequences. The victims had also approached and met accused regarding the illegal occupancy. He told him to forget about the property which belongs to them,” the ED remand plea said. It sought to confront Malik claiming that it wanted to see the “bigger picture” behind the conspiracy involving him and “the underworld”. It claimed that he was confronted with statements of Sardar Khan, a convict in the 1993 bomb blasts case and alleged that he had withheld “crucial facts”.
Malik’s lawyer Desai said that the ED was claiming that he withheld information because it wanted Malik to give a confession. He also said that the central agency had “suddenly decided to give credence” to statements of the 1993 blast convict, adding the veracity of the statements was not established before Malik’s arrest.
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