HC seeks ED’s reply to Nawab Malik’s plea against his arrest in money laundering case

HC seeks ED's reply to Nawab Malik's plea against his arrest in money laundering case
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to file its reply to Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik’s petition challenging his arrest in a money laundering probe linked to fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides. Malik was arrested by the ED last week and is in the central agency’s custody till March 3. The minister would be produced before a special court on Thursday.

The NCP leader on Monday filed a petition in the high court seeking to quash the case and also the order passed by a special court remanding him to the ED’s custody.

Malik sought his immediate release and a direction from the high court to declare his arrest as illegal.

The state Minority Affairs Minister alleged that he was illegally arrested for being a “vocal critic of the misuse of central agencies”.

A division bench of Justices S B Shukre and G A Sanap on Wednesday briefly heard Malik’s counsel Amit Desai.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the ED, sought time to file his affidavit.

“There are certain allegations made in the petition. We (ED) will have to deal with it,” Singh said.

The bench posted the plea for further hearing on March 7, noting that on that day the regular bench hearing criminal petitions would be available.

“If in the meantime there is any subsequent remand or order passed by the special court, then it would be without any prejudice caused to the rights and contentions of both the petitioner (Malik) and the State (ED),” the court said.

Desai had argued that the petition raises the question of Malik’s personal liberty.

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“The ED is relying on statements of certain persons who are accused of being members of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim. Malik is not involved with that group,” Desai said.

He further argued that the ED’s case is to only create a false and wrong impression of Malik, who has been in public service since 25 years, with this group.

The senior counsel further said that the alleged offence pertains to the transactions done way back in 1999.

In his petition, Malik had said that he was not the first to be targeted and this is a worrying trend across the nation, where central agencies are being misused by the party in power.

Malik in his petition said he was forcibly picked up from his residence by the ED officials on February 23 without any notice or summons under section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The minister in his plea said the February 23 order of the special court designated to hear the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases was without jurisdiction.

The ED’s case is that Malik in connivance with Dawood Ibrahim’s aides – Haseena Parker, Salim Patel and Sardar Khan – hatched a criminal conspiracy for usurping one Munira Plumber’s ancestral property in Kurla having current market value of around Rs 300 crore. Thus, it is proceeds of crime, the agency claimed.

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