Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik arrested in money laundering case
Officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday (February 23) arrested Nawab Malik—Nationalist Congress Party leader and a minister in the Maharashtra government—in connection with a money laundering case. The minister had been taken to the ED office in Mumbai for questioning earlier in the day. The probe agency says the case is linked to fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.
- ED arrested Malik after questioning him for seven hours.
- Meanwhile, throwing weight behind the NCP leader, the Shiv Sena and Congress have accused BJP of using central agencies for political vendetta against opponents. The BJP has rejected the charge.
- Last year, Malik's son-in-law Sameer Khan was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in a drugs case.
Even as Malik was being interrogated, workers of the NCP staged a protest near the ED office in southern Mumbai, shouting slogans against the BJP and the investigation agency. The party workers also attempted to march toward the ED office but were stopped by police personnel deployed in the area, following which they performed a sit-in protest.
"The protest is against the unjust questioning of Nawab Malik as he was exposing the BJP+NCB+CBI+ED nexus on a daily basis. We will not be cowed down. NCP will keep exposing BJP and all central agencies," party spokesperson Sanjay Tatkare said in a statement.
According to sources cited by India Today, the probe agency claims to have established a money trail that links the NCP leader to the underworld. Malik had allegedly bought land from one of Dawood Ibrahim's associates, who was accused in a bombing case. ED is also said to have details of benami investments made by Nawab Malik in the real estate project.
"When all documents are out and the ED acts on them, the Maharashtra government and its minister says the action is an act of revenge. Dawood brutally killed thousands in bomb blasts...Can a nationalist buy his property?" BJP MLA Ram Kadam said in a statement.
After arresting Malik, ED officials took him to a government hospital for a medical check-up. He will likely be produced before a court later in the day. "We will not bow down...Will expose," Malik told reporters. Last week, the ED had carried out searches at various locations across Mumbai. Raids were conducted at the residence of Ibrahim's sister Haseena Parkar and other locations.