Mumbai: Having financial links with Dawood Ibrahim’s sister Haseena Parkar, owning properties linked to the underworld gangster and facilitating a money laundering racket — these are some of the broad reasons that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) listed in a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court while seeking the custody of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)’s Nawab Malik Wednesday.
The ED arrested Malik after nearly eight hours of questioning him at the agency’s office in Mumbai. The court has granted ED Malik’s custody till 3 March.
Malik’s arrest is in connection with the ED’s money laundering probe into the alleged hawala network of Dawood Ibrahim and his aides for promoting anti-national activities in India and spread terrorism.
Earlier this month, the ED registered a case of money laundering against Dawood Ibrahim based on the National Investigation Agency (NIA)’s case against the fugitive gangster for terror activities in India. It also raided several properties of Dawood’s aides.
Arrest comes 3 months after Fadnavis’ allegations against Malik
Malik’s arrest comes about three months after Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis alleged that he had bought land at Kurla in Mumbai at a throwaway price from two men linked to the underworld. Malik had refuted the charge, saying the purchase was legal. The ED cited details of this transaction in court while seeking Malik’s custody.
Releasing papers related to the transaction, Fadnavis said the land in question is a 2.8-acre plot at LBS Marg in Kurla called the Goawalla Compound, which was purchased by Solidus Investments Pvt. Ltd in 2005 at “a pittance of Rs 30 lakh, or Rs 25 per square feet” with Malik’s son Faraz Malik having signed as the purchaser.
Fadnavis said the property was part-owned by Sardar Shahawali Khan, and the power of attorney was with Saleem Patel. Khan, a civil contractor, is serving a life term for his role in the 1993 blasts. Patel is said to be the driver and bodyguard of Haseena Parkar, who Fadnavis described as the “chief of Parkar’s land grabbing business”.
Malik has been a vocal critic of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and has especially come under the focus after his almost-daily press conference in October last year, poking holes in the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)’s probe into an alleged drug bust involving actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan.
He alleged the drug bust was a conspiracy of the BJP to destabilise the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, and also slammed Fadnavis as the “mastermind” of the drugs racket in Maharashtra.
Malik, as well as other senior leaders of the MVA such as NCP’s Sharad Pawar, Congress’ Balasaheb Thorat and Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut made public statements suggesting ED’s action against Malik was just vendetta politics and only the latest in a string of incidents where the BJP has allegedly used central agencies to pressurise its political opponents. The MVA comprises the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.
After Malik’s arrest Wednesday, Fadnavis told reporters: “This entire matter is very serious. The NIA found a very big link in its operations that Dawood Ibrahim is funding terror in Maharashtra through real estate. All these real estate transactions are happening through money laundering. The ED searched at least nine properties and a number of links emerged. One of them is to do with State Minister Nawab Malik.”
MVA leaders rally behind Malik
Senior NCP leaders had a meeting at Sharad Pawar’s residence in Mumbai, Silver Oak, followed by a meeting of senior MVA leaders, including Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil, Congress cabinet ministers Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat and NCP president Sharad Pawar at the CM’s official residence, Varsha. There was a consensus that the MVA government will not ask Malik to resign and will rally behind him.
Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said in a tweet: “Since they can’t fight the MVA face to face, there are attempts to stab from the back in an Afzal Khan-like way. If they are happy about doing away with one minister so be it. We should not take Nawab Malik’s resignation. We will keep fighting and win.”
महाविकास आघाडीशी समोरा समोर लढता येत नसल्याने पाठीमागून अफझलखानी वार सुरू आहेत..चालू द्या . एक मंत्री कपट करून आत टाकला असे आनंदाचे भरते आले असेल तर येऊद्या. नवाब मलिक यांचा राजीनामा घेऊ नये.. लढत राहू आणि जिंकू.
कंस आणि रावण सुध्दा मारले गेले…हेच हिंदुत्व आहे..
— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) February 23, 2022
NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal told reporters: “There is no need to take Nawab Malik’s resignation. These are just accusations, not yet proven. So there is no need for resignation… Even Union Minister Narayan Rane was arrested, but he didn’t tender his resignation.”
MVA leaders are now attempting to make Malik a poster boy for what they have been alleging since a year, that the BJP is trying to destabilise non-BJP ruled states by misusing government agencies. The ruling coalition in Maharashtra is now planning to stage a protest against Malik’s arrest on Thursday, MVA leaders said.