Nawab Malik sent to ED custody till March 3 in money laundering case
Mumbai, Feb 23: A special court here on Wednesday remanded Maharashtra Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik to the custody of Enforcement Directorate (ED) till March 3 in a money laundering probe linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.
Malik was arrested earlier in the day after being questioned for about five hours at the ED office in south Mumbai's Ballard Estate area since around 8 am.
The 62-year-old NCP leader was produced before special Judge RN Rokade, who remanded him to ED custody till March 3 for further probe into the matter.
The cabinet minister's statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and he was arrested under the same provisions as he was evasive in his replies, ED officials said.
The ED case is based on an FIR filed recently by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Ibrahim, a fugitive gangster, and others. The NIA had filed its criminal complaint under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Malik raised a clenched fist, smiled and waved towards the waiting media personnel before he was taken away for a medical checkup by agency officials in a vehicle escorted by CRPF personnel and local police. He told the media from inside the vehicle: "We will fight and we will win. Will expose all."
Officials said his statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and he was arrested under the same provisions as he was "evasive" in his replies. He will be produced in a court in Mumbai where the agency is expected to seek his custody for at least seven days.
Malik's alleged links to some property deals with those convicted for the Mumbai blasts are said to be under the radar of the federal probe agency and hence his questioning was necessitated. His party and NCP leaders had said he was taken by ED officials from his residence around 6 AM.
Malik's office said in a tweet: "Today morning the ED had come to @nawabmalikncp saheb's residence. They accompanied saheb in his vehicle to the ED office. Advocate Amir Malik, Saheb's son has accompanied saheb along with."
"Na darenge na jhukenge! (won't be afraid, won't bow down) Be ready for 2024!", it said in another tweet, with the hashtag we stand with Nawab Malik. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told reporters that Malik was taken away by the ED from his home. "...I think this is a challenge to the Maharashtra government...They (central agencies) are free to probe...old issues are being dug out but you should remember that after 2024 you too will be probed," he said.
The Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress are part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MCA) government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in the state.
The minister had been in the news for the last few months after he made a number of personal and service-related allegations of wrongdoings against former Mumbai NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede, who has denied them. These charges came soon after the NCB conducted raids at a cruise in October last year and arrested 20 people including actor Shah Rukh Khan's Aryan Khan.
The NCB headquarters in Delhi, soon after, took over at least six investigations being conducted by its Mumbai zone and transferred them to a special investigation team (SIT) based in Delhi even as a vigilance probe was ordered to probe the role of Wankhede and his team after charges of extortion were made against them in Cordelia cruise case. Malik's son-in-law Sameer Khan was also arrested in a drugs case by the Narcotics Control Bureau's Mumbai unit last year.
This ED action comes after the registration of a new case and raids conducted by it on February 15 in Mumbai in connection with the operations of the underworld including alleged illegal property deals and hawala transactions linked to Dawood Ibrahim's aides.
The searches were conducted at 10 locations, including premises linked to 1993 Mumbai blasts mastermind Dawood Ibrahim's late sister Haseena Parkar, brother Iqbal Kaskar and Salim Qureshi alias Salim Fruit, brother-in-law of gangster Chhota Shakeel. Kaskar, who was already in jail, has been arrested by the agency last week.
It also questioned Salim Qureshi and Parkar's son.
The ED case is based on an FIR filed recently by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Ibrahim and others apart from its independent intelligence. The NIA had filed its criminal complaint under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).