Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday rejected a plea filed by Maharashtra Minorities Development Minister Nawab Malik seeking interim release after he was arrested last month by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case.
A Division Bench of Justices PB Varale and SM Modak said: “As certain debatable issues are raised, they require to be heard at length. “Considering the grounds assigned by us we are not inclined to allow the prayers in the interim application. The application is rejected.”
The bench had reserved its order on March 11 after concluding the hearing of the habeas corpus plea moved by the NCP leader claiming his arrest was ‘illegal’, done with ‘political vendetta’ and due process was not followed.
Meanwhile, the BJP workers staged a protest against the Maharashtra Cabinet Minister demanding his resignation, in connection with Dawood Ibrahim money laundering case.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar told news agency ANI that Nawab Malik’s arrest is “politically motivated.” “Whenever they (BJP) see any Muslim party worker they link them with Dawood…PM Modi should explain why Narayan Rane didn’t resign when he was arrested as BJP keeps asking for Nawab Malik’s resignation,” he said.
Malik was arrested by the ED on February 23 in the money laundering case linking him to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader was taken into custody after six hours of interrogation at the ED office, shortly after ED officials went to his residence in Kurla early in the morning and asked him preliminary questions.
After arrest, Malik was taken to the J J Hospital for a medical check up.
Malik had earlier made a series of allegations against former Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Mumbai head Sameer Wankhede and also the ED.
According to officials, Malik was arrested for an alleged deal on a Kurla property 17 years ago which was said to be owned by a couple of close associates of Dawood Ibrahim.
The issue was first highlighted by Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis in November 2021.
Soon after Malik was taken away, NCP President Sharad Pawar, Minister Jayant Patil, MP Supriya Sule, spokesperson Vidya Chavan, MLA Rohit Pawar, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and others slammed the ED for its “selective” targeting of Sena and NCP leaders.
India Blooms News Service