On February 15, the ED had carried out raids at 10 locations, including premises linked to Dawood Ibrahim’s late sister Haseena Parkar, brother Iqbal Kaskar and Salim Qureshi alias Salim Fruit, brother-in-law of gangster Chhota Shakeel. The agency also took custody of Dawood Ibrahim’s brother Iqbal Kaskar in the same case. According to sources, some evidence related to property purchased by Nawab Malik has surfaced during the ongoing investigation.
The ED arrested Malik in a money-laundering probe linked to Dawood Ibrahim and his aides’ activities and secured his remand till March 3 after producing him in a special PMLA court. It claimed the NCP leader was “actively” actively participating” involved in “terror funding”.
The central agency told the court that interrogation of Malik might reveal crucial facts in his exclusive domain. It claimed that Malik, being “the key conspirator and beneficiary of an entire charade”, may disclose the details of this syndicate.
Malik made a cryptic tweet on Wednesday night, saying, “the silence is for a brief period and noise will follow”. “Kuchh hi der ki khamoshi hai phir shor aayega, tumhara toh sirf waqt hai hamara daur aayega!! (The silence is only for a brief period, noise will follow; yours is only a phase, ours will be an era),” Malik tweeted in Hindi.
Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik was arrested on Wednesday after over eight hours of questioning by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case linked to fugitive terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. He was evasive and didn’t cooperate with the investigation, the ED said. He was produced before a special court and hearing the case the court sent him in the agency’s custody till March 3.
However, unperturbed, Mr. Nawab Malik said when he was put in the witness box, “I have been forcibly brought here. They should have sent summons first, but they picked me up from my house.”
Defiantly waving his fist in the air to the waiting media persons while stepping out of the ED office, Mr. Malik said he wouldn’t bow down. “We will fight and win and expose everyone,” he said. ED officials then took him in a vehicle to the state-run J J Hospital for a medical check-up.
Incidentally, Mr. Malik is the second Maharashtra minister arrested by a central probe agency in four months. Former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was arrested by the ED in November last year. After Malik’s arrest, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has called for an emergency meeting of top party leaders at his residence.
Recently, Mr Mallick got publicity in media, making headlines, for attacking the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede accusing him of several service-related wrongdoings after the anti-drugs officer led the raid on a cruise ship on Mumbai’s shore in October last year and arrested 20 people including superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan. Mr. Malik’s son-in-law Sameer Khan was also arrested in a drugs case by the NCB’s Mumbai unit led by Mr. Wankhede last year.
Reacting to the allegations against Mr Malik, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said invoking Dawood was a convenient way to sully someone’s reputation. “I don’t know about the case against him but, Dawood’s name has always been invoked to try to defame rivals,” he said. Mr Pawar claimed that he was also accused of having ties with the underworld when he was the state’s, Chief Minister. But, “25 years later, the same trick is being used to harass and defame,” he added.
On Wednesday, Hectic discussions were held at NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s residences. Chhagan Bhujbal, senior NCP minister, termed Malik’s arrest as unfortunate and said that the MVA would hold protests from Thursday. “We all will fight the battle legally and will also go to the people. We, as ministers, will hold a protest tomorrow at 10 am at the Mahatma Gandhi statue near Mantralaya. Besides, we will also carry out peaceful agitations and protests at all taluka, city, and district levels across the state from Friday,” Bhujbal said after meeting Thackeray.
From February 25 onwards, workers of all three MVA parties will hold morchas and dharnas all over the state, it was announced in the evening.
Bhujbal further said Malik will not be asked to resign as the charges have not yet been proved. He pointed out that the BJP had not taken Union minister Narayan Rane’s resignation after being arrested and threatening to slap the Chief Minister.
The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government said it would not seek Malik’s resignation despite his arrest. However, it also decided to hold protests against the BJP on Thursday.
Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole termed Malik’s arrest as an act of “revenge” and said the need of the hour was to fight against the tactics to silence political opponents unitedly.
However, the BJP has rubbished allegations of political vendetta and accused Mr. Malik of buying land from terrorist Dawood Ibrahim’s aide. BJP MLA from Mumbai’s Ghatkopar West Ram Kadam also claimed that since the land was about to get seized by the government, the minister bought it at nominal rates from a bomb blast accused.
However, the BJP challenged that if leaders of the ruling parties feel there is a misuse of power, they can move to court to seek justice. After his arrest, the opposition party said Malik had no moral right to remain in the cabinet.