Nawab Malik | The Minister in the dock

 The outspoken NCP leader is currently in the Enforcement Directorate’s custody for a money laundering case involving the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim

Updated - February 27, 2022 07:04 pm IST

Published - February 27, 2022 01:09 am IST

Nawab Malik

Nawab Malik | Photo Credit: Sreejith Ravikumar

On February 24, the special prevention of money laundering act court remanded Nawab Malik, Maharashtra Minister for Minority Affairs, Auqaf and Skill Development in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government to the custody of Enforcement Directorate (ED) till March 3. When he was being taken to court from ED’s office, he told reporters, “We will fight, we will win and we will expose everyone”.

The Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) leader is mired in an alleged money laundering case of 1999. He is believed to have bought an ancestral property from one Munira Plumber through Dawood’s sister Haseena Parkar (now deceased) in suburban Mumbai for an amount of ₹55 lakh instead of its then estimated worth of ₹3.3 crore. The offence allegedly committed by Mr. Malik is not giving the owners the due consideration for the said property.

The ED’s case is centred around the prime property of three acres belonging to one Ms. Plumber, which is currently valued at ₹300 crore, that was allegedly usurped by Mr. Malik through M/s Solidus Investments Private Limited, a firm owned and controlled by family members of Mr. Malik with active connivance of members of the D-Gang through Parkar.

As per Ms. Plumber’s statement, she had given the power of attorney of the said land to Salim Patel (close associate of Parkar) for removing the encroachments from the said property and not to sell it. She came to know from the media in 2021 that her property was sold to Mr. Malik. She claims that she has never met Mr. Malik or expressed any desire to sell the property to him. She also states that she has not signed the agreement paper to sell the property to a third party nor authorised Mr. Patel to sell the property. Ms. Plumber has also submitted a complaint dated September 12, 1989 before the small causes court of being threatened by Mr. Malik.

The highest officer of the Centre, the Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh representing the ED in court, said “Mr. Malik has active involvement in terror funding and has usurped this property through members of the D-Gang. They have together connived and executed several legal documents to put a facade of genuinity over this criminal act.”

While remanding the 62-year-old to the ED custody, special judge Rahul Rokhade held, “Allegations of money laundering against Nawab Malik are prima facie well-founded. It is imperative to note that custodial interrogation of the accused (Mr. Malik) is necessary to collect seized, recovered documents at the instance of the accused. The proceeds of crime has traversed since the last 20 years and more. Therefore, sufficient time is required to be granted for the investigation of the offence.” The case is believed to have come to light because of leader of the opposition in Maharashtra and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis.

Mr. Malik, a five-time Maharashtra MLA, was born in Basti, Uttar Pradesh. He entered politics with his protest against a fee hike in Mumbai University in 1979. He joined the Samajwadi Party in 1994 and contested his first election for a seat in the Parliament but lost it. In 2004, he joined the NCP and soon became the State Minister for Special Aid and Technical Education.

Defamation case

The national spokesperson of NCP has been making headlines since the former Narcotics Control Bureau’s zonal director Sameer Wankhede arrested his son-in-law in an alleged drugs case on January 9 last year. Mr. Malik allegedly leaked a birth certificate on social media, stating that Mr. Wankhede was a Muslim and also posted photos of his sister.

Mr. Wankhede’s father soon filed a defamation suit against the Minister before the Bombay High Court. On November 29, the court directed Mr. Malik to refrain from making any public statements or use social media against the Wankhedes. However, the outspoken leader continued to make defamatory or derogatory statements and posts against them in the media.

On December 7, the court noted that “Mr. Malik has wilfully breached his undertaking given to court last month when he made defamatory statements against Mr. Wankhede”. Three days later, he tendered an “unconditional apology” before the High Court.

His daughter Nilofer Malik Khan calls him, “Fearless’ and says, my father does not beat around the bush, he has the courage to call a spade — a spade.”

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