Mumbai: A Special PMLA Court on Monday remanded Maharashtra Minorities Affairs Minister Nawab Malik to judicial custody till March 21 in an alleged money-laundering case arising out of a tainted land deal nearly 20 years ago.
Arrested on February 23, Malik was produced before the Special PMLA Judge R.S. Rokade after his extended custody with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the past 12 days ended on Sunday.
At the previous hearing, the ED had informed the Special Court that Malik had allegedly taken only Rs 5 lakh — and not Rs 55 lakh as stated earlier — which was paid to Haseena Parker between 1999-2005, for a property deal in Goawala Compound of Kurla.
The Special Judge extended Malik’s custody as the ED argued that they could not interrogate the Minister as he was ill and hospitalised.
The ED in February raided the homes of the kin of absconding mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, including his deceased sister Haseena Parker and interrogated his nephew Alishah Parker, in connection with the alleged money-laundering case.
Among other things, the ED has contended that Malik was allegedly involved in a conspiracy hatched with Dawood’s gang members to usurp the ancestral property of one Muneera Plumber, with a current estimated market value of Rs 300 crore, which the central agency was a crime under the PMLA.
Later, Malik moved the Bombay High Court challenging his ‘illegal arrest’ by the ED and seeking immediate release from custody.
He contended that the ED had violated PMLA and CrPC sections by first detaining him from home in the early hours of February 23 and then serving him with the summons at the agency’s office.
Malik denied any links with the mafia and argued that the PMLA could not be applied for the alleged offence which was completed over 20 years ago, when the Act did not exist.
After his arrest, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) clamoured for the immediate resignation or sacking of Malik, but was spurned by the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress.
The MVA hit back by asking whether Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane had quit after he was arrested in August 2021 for a slur on Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and hence there was no need for Malik to quit his Cabinet post.