Nawab Malik was questioned for around eight hours at the ED office before his arrest.
Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik was arrested on Wednesday after questioning by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case linked to fugitive terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. He will be in the agency's custody till March 3.
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Nawab Malik was produced before a special court following over eight hours of questioning and subsequent arrest by the Enforcement Directorate. "I have been forcibly brought here. They should have sent summons first but they picked me up from my house," he said when he was put in the witness box.
Defiantly waving his fist in the air to the waiting media persons while stepping out of the ED office, Mr Malik said he won't bow down. "We will fight and win, and expose everyone," he said. He was then taken by ED officials in a vehicle to the state-run J J Hospital for a medical check-up.
According to sources, Mr Malik was grilled over alleged transactions with terrorist Dawood's associates and land deals with them. He was evasive and didn't cooperate with the investigation, the ED said.
Underscoring that Nawab Malik will not resign, Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal said, "In the last 30 years, no one took name of Nawab Malik in connection with the Mumbai blast. But now he is speaking against Union government, hence to shut his mouth, he was arrested today". A peaceful protest will be held tomorrow near Mahatma Gandhi Memorial in front of Mantralaya, he added.
Mr Malik is the second Maharashtra Minister to be arrested by a central probe agency in four months. Former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was arrested by the ED in November last year. After Malik's arrest, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has called for an emergency meeting of top party leaders at his residence.
On February 15, the ED had carried out raids at 10 locations including premises linked to Dawood Ibrahim's late sister Haseena Parkar, brother Iqbal Kaskar and Salim Qureshi alias Salim Fruit, brother-in-law of gangster Chhota Shakeel. The agency also took custody of Dawood Ibrahim's brother Iqbal Kaskar in the same case. According to sources, some evidence related to property purchased by Nawab Malik has surfaced during the ongoing investigation.
The 62-year-old Minister was taken to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office this morning for questioning. ED officials reached this home at 6 am where he was questioned for an hour. He was then brought to the ED office and questioned again for close to eight hours.
Mr Malik had recently made headlines for attacking the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede accusing him of several service-related wrongdoings after the anti-drugs officer led the raid on a cruise ship on Mumbai's shore in October last year and arrested 20 people including superstar Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan. Mr Malik's son-in-law Sameer Khan was also arrested in a drugs case by the NCB's Mumbai unit led by Mr Wankhede last year.
Reacting to the allegations against Mr Malik, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said invoking Dawood was a convenient way to sully someone's reputation. "I don't know about the case against him but Dawood's name has always been invoked to try to defame rivals," he said. Mr Pawar claimed that he was also accused of having ties with the underworld when he was the state's Chief Minister. "25 years later, the same trick is being used to harass and defame," he added.
The BJP has rubbished allegations of political vendetta and accused Mr Malik of buying land from terrorist Dawood Ibrahim's aide. BJP MLA from Mumbai's Ghatkopar West Ram Kadam also claimed that since the land was about to get seized by the government, the minister bought it at nominal rates from a bomb blast accused.