Nawab Malik’s arrest as per law, ED tells HC

Agency denies Maharashtra Minister’s arrest was ‘politically motivated’

Published - March 07, 2022 10:13 pm IST - Mumbai

NCP leader Nawab Malik. File

NCP leader Nawab Malik. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday urged the Bombay High Court to dismiss the habeas corpus (law writ issued to bring a party before a court or judge) petition filed by Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik challenging his arrest by the anti-money laundering agency, saying his arrest was as per law.

In the affidavit filed before a bench led by Justice PB Varale, the ED denied Mr. Malik’s allegations that he was arrested illegally and that his arrest was “politically motivated”.

The ED said it was also probing Mr. Malik in “two more cases related to D-Company”. Mr. Malik was arrested by the ED on February 23 in a money laundering probe linked to the activities of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.

In its preliminary reply affidavit filed before the High Court, the ED said it was also probing Mr. Malik in “two more cases related to D-Company”.

The agency said it was a “responsible and independent agency” and that in arresting Mr. Malik, it had acted in “conformity with the law”.

The ED had claimed that Mr. Malik used to introduce fake tenants on properties bought with money belonging to Dawood Ibrahim to reduce the registration value of the land.

On Monday, a special court in the city sent Mr. Malik to judicial custody after his custody period with the ED had ended.

Following his arrest, Mr. Malik filed a habeas corpus plea in the HC through senior advocate Amit Desai. He challenged his arrest and sought immediate release.

Mr. Desai mentioned the plea and sought an urgent hearing on Monday but the bench scheduled the matter for further hearing for Tuesday due to paucity of time.

As per the ED’s affidavit signed by Niraj Kumar, Assistant Director, ED, “Malik’s active involvement in terror funding” was linked to a land deal in 1999 with Dawood Ibrahim’s sister. The ED said it had eyewitness’ accounts and other evidence to support its claims.

The agency said the offence of money laundering was a continuing offence and a grave one at that. Therefore, applying the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against Mr. Malik, even retrospectively, was in accordance with the law.

“In the light of the above–stated submissions, it is humbly prayed that this court be pleased to dismiss this writ petition,” the affidavit reads.

“The petition is not only not maintainable but also a tactic by the petitioner to derail the investigation,” it reads.

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