INDIA. Mumbai: A war of attrition has begun between the opposition BJP and the Mahavikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra after NCP leader and Minister Nawab Malik was arrested and sent to custody by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) till March 03 on charges of money laundering and alleged underworld link on Wednesday.
Malik was arrested on Wednesday morning and was sent to the ED custody in a connection investigation linked to the Mumbai underworld fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides. He was grilled for nearly 8 hours.
Malik has been charged with active involvement in terror funding linked to a land deal in 1999 with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s late sister Haseena Parkar. He was also inquired in extortion cases registered against Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar by Thane police in 2017. Iqbal was taken into custody by ED last Friday. Similarly, on Monday, ED questioned Alishah Parkar, son of Haseena Parkar.
Iqbal Kaskar was deported in 2003; he has been in Mumbai. Iqbal is accused of running the Dawood gang’s operations in Mumbai and other areas on behalf of his brother. The latter is handled from Karachi in Pakistan and works with Pakistani intelligence agencies and terrorist groups.
On Wednesday, after Malik was arrested, many NCP workers gathered outside the ED office in South Mumbai and raised slogans in his support. A massive police force was deployed outside the ED office.
Whereas after Malik’s arrest, the BJP workers burnt his effigy and also burst crackers in different parts of Mumbai, including suburban Andheri and outside the residence of BJP activist Mohit Kambhoj at Santa Cruz.
BJP State President Chandrakant Patil demanded Malik’s resignation and said that a state-wide agitation would be launched if he was not made to resign. However, NCP leader and Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said that Malik was not asked to leave since no charges were proved. All the constituents of MVA will launch a state-wide drive against the harassment by ED, he added.
Minister Advocate Yashomati Thakur said this attempted to topple the three-party MVA Government. But the government will not be toppled since it has the support of 170 MLAs. If required, the ED can confront us on Shivaji Park in Central Mumbai, she said in a tweet.
It may be recalled that in November last, BJP leader and the leader of the Opposition in the state legislative assembly Devendra Fadnavis had alleged that Malik had purchased a plot of land admeasuring 3 acres in Kurla in North Central Mumbai from Dawood’s relatives to save it from being confiscated by the authorities.
Similarly, Malik had alleged that although BJP activist Mohit Kamboj was involved in a Rs 1,100 crore bank scam, central agencies – Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) were protecting him. He had also accused Kamboj of being a member of the private army of former NCB zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, involved in unearthing drug rackets in Mumbai.