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Nawab Malik arrested by ED in connection with money laundering case against Dawood Ibrahim

Late on Wednesday evening, Nawab Malik was sent to the ED's custody till March 3.

Written by Khushboo Narayan , Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
Updated: February 24, 2022 6:30:13 am
Nawab Malik arrest, Nawab Malik Arrest NewsMaharashtra minister Nawab Malik (File)

IN A blow for the coalition government in Maharashtra, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday arrested NCP leader and state cabinet minister Nawab Malik in connection with a case of alleged money laundering and “active involvement in terror funding” linked to a land deal in 1999 with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s sister. He was remanded in ED custody till March 3 by a special court.

Malik is the second senior NCP leader to be arrested by the central agency over the last four months, after Anil Deshmukh, the former state home minister, was taken into custody and jailed last November over another alleged case of money laundering.

Malik’s arrest drew furious reactions from ruling allies Shiv Sena and Congress, who targeted the BJP-ruled Centre, even as NCP chief Sharad Pawar described the ED’s action as an “attempt to harass those who are speaking against the misuse of central agencies”. The opposition BJP demanded Malik’s resignation.

Following his arrest, as NCP workers gathered outside the ED’s office and shouted slogans against the move, Malik told reporters: “Ladenge, jeetenge, sab ko expose karenge (Will fight, win and expose everyone)”. He was then taken to J J Hospital for a medical check-up after which he was brought to the special court where the ED sought his custody for 14 days.

Detailing its case against Malik, the ED told the court that he allegedly bought approximately 3 acres of land at Goawala compound in Kurla in 1999 and paid Rs 85 lakh, including Rs 55 lakh in cash between 1999 and 2005, to Dawood’s sister Haseena Parkar. The agency said the property was allegedly usurped from its original owners and sold to Malik in connivance with members of the “gang”, referring to Dawood’s aides and others.

According to the agency’s remand application, it found that the land belonged to another individual, identified as Munira Plumber, and was allegedly acquired in 1995 by Parkar through a forged power of attorney in the name of her driver, Salim Patel. The ED also alleged that Malik met Parkar three times to negotiate the deal. Plumber, according to ED, got to know about the sale only in 2021.

The ED alleged that Malik initially encroached upon a small portion of the land in 1995 through a shop. Subsequently, he got tenancy rights to a warehouse on the property held through Solidus Investments, which originally belonged to a steel businessman Kanubhai M Patel who sold the company to the politician in 2002-03.

Representing Malik, senior counsel Amit Desai argued that there is no connection shown between Malik and the “gang”. Desai said that a property transaction dating back to 1999, when PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002) was not even in force, is being used to create an impression that an elected representative of Maharashtra is involved in anti-national activities.

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Desai also submitted that Malik was a victim himself as he had bought property from a person who claimed to have the right over the land in question.

Malik told the court that he was detained at his residence early in the morning and served summons after which he was forcefullly taken to the ED office, and later told about being placed under arrest.

Speaking to The Indian Express, an ED official said they reached Malik’s residence at around 5 am and conducted a search. Subsequently, the official said, the agency brought Malik to its office at Ballard Estate in South Mumbai by 7.30 am and began questioning him by 8 am. Malik came to the office in his own car, the official said.

Reacting to the ED action, NCP chief Pawar said: “Nawab Malik has been very outspoken and we were sure that some issue would be raked up by them to trouble him. If there is a Muslim activist who is their opponent, it is their habit to link his name to Dawood. When I was the CM of Maharashtra, they tried to link my name with Dawood as well.”

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Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut accused central agencies of targeting BJP’s opponents. “This is a challenge to the Maharashtra government. The central investigation agencies, like a mafia, are targeting BJP’s political opponents who expose falsehood…This will continue till 2024 and after that, they will have to face the consequences,” Raut said, in a reference to the next elections.

Congress leader and former chief minister Ashok Chavan said “it is very disappointing and wrong to see such a new low in politics”.

Known for his blunt statements and combative politics, five-time MLA Malik has been the NCP’s national spokesperson for more than a decade and is currently in charge of Minority Affairs and Skill Development.

He burst into the national limelight last year after the arrest of actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, when he accused Sameer Wankhede, the Narcotics Control Bureau officer in charge of the case, of foisting false drug charges and acting as a “BJP pawn” to harass political opponents. The NCB, led by Wankhede, had months earlier arrested Malik’s son-in-law in connection with another drugs case.

But it was Malik’s attack on former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis that brought him on the BJP’s radar. Malik had put out a photo of alleged drug peddler Jaydeep Rana with Fadnavis, and accused the BJP leader of having links with operators in the drugs business.

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Days later, on November 9 last year, Fadnavis alleged that Malik had struck a property deal with people linked to the Mumbai underworld and those who were convicted in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.

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On Wednesday, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil demanded Malik’s resignation. “Malik has been arrested, he should resign now. If he doesn’t resign, we will protest. There is a long list of allegations against Maharashtra ministers, we will get tired reading it,” Patil said.

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First published on: 23-02-2022 at 09:20:17 am

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