A Mumbai special court on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of NCP leader Nawab Malik, who was arrested in February by the Enforcement Directorate in a money-laundering case registered over a property linked to fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim.
Special judge R N Rokade on November 14 concluded hearing on Malik’s plea and reserved the order. While the judge was to pass the order on November 23, the court said that it had to go through voluminous submissions and documents placed on record by both sides and deferred the order to Wednesday.
Malik, who was a minister in the Maha Vikas Agadi government in Maharashtra, has several health issues and has been in a private hospital since May.
In his bail plea, Malik denied allegations of having conspired with those named in a complaint filed by the National Investigation Agency, based on which the ED booked him in the money-laundering case. Those named in the NIA case include fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his sister Haseena Parkar.
Senior advocate Amit Desai, appearing for Malik, said he was an “innocent purchaser” who acquired the Goawala Compound property in Mumbai’s Kurla area with due diligence. The ED began its inquiry based on a complaint filed by Munira Plumber, owner of the property. Desai said that Plumber had filed the complaint about her property being allegedly usurped in 2021–23 years after Malik bought it legally.
The ED, however, replied that an eyewitness statement had revealed that Rs 55 lakh had been paid illegally to Parkar for the Goawala property. It added that Malik had connived with members of the Dawood gang “involved in laundering of illegally usurped property/proceeds of crime under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act”.
The ED said the latest income tax returns filed by Solidus Investments Private Limited had revealed that it had received rent worth Rs 66.9 lakh from an automotive manufacturer and the proceeds of crime were controlled by Malik through Solidus.
The ED said that Malik’s active role in the alleged crime was evident as he had attended meetings to resolve the issue on whether he or Parkar would control the property. He also attended the meeting to acquire Solidus, it added.
The ED also said that proceeds of crime had been laundered after the Prevention of Money Laundering Act was enforced, and that it therefore did not apply the charges in a “retrospective manner” as alleged by Malik. It added that there was no violation of fundamental rights.
The ED said Malik had not cooperated with the investigation despite statements by Parkar’s son and others that showed he was personally involved in the “illegal activity”.
The court held, “The statement of Munira Plumber cannot be ignored. The evidence on record prima facie indicates there is money laundering. There is continued possession of tainted property. There is no material to show that the applicant has made an inquiry with the original owner (Munira Plumber) for buying the property.”
The court also added that from a statement by Sardar Khan, another prime witness, a conspiracy meeting between Malik and Haseena Parkar was established. “The bail cannot be granted. Malik’s medical treatment can continue,” he said.