Maharashtra Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik outside the Enforcement Directorate office after being arrested by the agency in connection with a money laundering case, in Mumbai on Wednesday, February 23, 2022.(IANS)

Maharashtra Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik outside the Enforcement Directorate office after being arrested by the agency in connection with a money laundering case, in Mumbai on Wednesday, February 23, 2022.(IANS)

ED arrests Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik in land deal case

Mumbai, February 23, 2022

In a stunning turn of events, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik after he was grilled for nearly eight hours in an alleged shady land deal case.

Malik was whisked off by the ED to a government hospital for a medical check-up and he is likely to be produced before a designated court later this afternoon.

As he was escorted out of the ED office, a grinning Malik was seen raising a fist, and declaring: "Jhunkenge nahin, ladenge aur jeetenge (will not succumb, will fight and win)" to his supporters.

An ED team had visited Malik's home around 5 a.m. and taken him away for questioning in the Kurla land deal allegedly having a mafia taint.

The ED had deployed CISF security and Mumbai Police security as a large number of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) workers had staged a huge protest outside the agency's office since morning to protest the action against Malik.

Top NCP leaders slammed the ED for the arrest and accused it of pursuing the Bharatiya Janata Party's agenda of vendetta and silencing political opponents.

Malik had some months ago made a series of "exposes" against the former Narcotics Control Bureau Mumbai head Sameer Wankhede.

He is the second NCP minister to come under the ED scanner after the former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh went to the agency on November 1, 2021, was arrested early the next morning, and remains in custody till now.

Last week, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had raided certain properties linked with the absconder mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar and his relatives in Mumbai.

Five days ago, the ED arrested the don's younger brother, Iqbal Ibrahim Kaskar in connection with a money-laundering case lodged against him.

NCP spokesperson Vidya Chavan and Shiv Sena leader Kishore Tiwari strongly condemned the manner in which the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party is allegedly "abusing the official machinery and central agencies to silence political opponents who dare to speak against them".

However, BJP's legislators Atul Bhatkalkar and Ram Kadam pointed out that the party had already submitted full details of an alleged business deal between Malik and the mafia don.

Bhatkalkar demanded that if the business deals by Malik are proved in the investigations or if the NCP leader is found to be acting as a "front" for the mafia, then he must be arrested.

Anticipating "a call" from the agency, Malik had earlier stated that he would welcome the ED whenever they come.

IANS

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