Minister for Minority Affairs in the Maha Vikas Aghadi Government and a strong anti-BJP voice in Maharashtra, Nawab Malik was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday. Malik is amongst the senior ministers in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Government and a close confidante of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. The arrested leader’s campaign against ex-zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau, Sameer Wankhede saw the former repatriated to the Central Excise department. He was also actively involved in the electioneering in Uttar Pradesh, where the fourth phase of polls was held on Wednesday.
According to sources, the minister was arrested in a money laundering case that was registered against Dawood Ibrahim, his brother Iqbal Kaskar and others. He was quizzed specifically on property transactions which is part of the ongoing probe against the fugitive gangster. Malik was taken from his residence to the ED office around 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning and interrogated for nearly seven hours before he was arrested. Sources say that the minister has been arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Since October 2021, following the arrest of Aryan Khan in the Cordelia drugs case, Malik – armed with documents as proof – had launched a strong diatribe against Wankhede alleging large scale corruption. The arrested minister had named various persons involved in drug peddling and linked to the BJP. He had also accused the brother of former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis of being involved in some controversial activities. In turn, Fadnavis had in a press conference in November last year, has accused Malik of buying property from a 1993 Bombay blasts accused Sardar Shahwali Khan and Mohammed Salim Ishaq Patel, who was reportedly the front man of Haseena Parkar, sister of Dawood Ibrahim. Kaskar was arrested recently by the ED and had also questioned Parkar’s son in the money laundering case.
Through tweets and press conferences, Malik had accused the BJP of using the central agencies to intimidate celebrities, politicians and others from raising their voices against the BJP.
Dawood is a wanted accused in the 1993, blasts case. ED had recently also conducted raids across many parts of Mumbai including the residence of Parkar – who lived in Nagpada in central Mumbai. Two Mumbai-based builders and a relative of Chhota Shakeel (absconding aide of Dawood) were also questioned by the central agency. This case pertains to a FIR lodged by the National Investigating Agency (NIA).
The 62-year old arrested leader’s office tweeted, “Mein jhukega nahi”.