- Nawab Malik was arrested after being questioned by the ED in a money laundering case
- ED's money laundering probe is linked to activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim
- A special court has remanded Nawab Malik in the custody of the ED till March 3
Nawab Malik, senior NCP leader and Maharashtra Minister, has been admitted to JJ Hospital in Mumbai. Malik (62), who was arrested on Wednesday by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), was shifted to the hospital after he complained of stomach pain.
Malik, who is state Minority Affairs Minister and NCP's chief spokesperson, was taken into custody after being questioned for about five hours at the ED office in south Mumbai's Ballard Estate area in connection with money laundering case.
He was later produced before special judge R N Rokade, who remanded him in the ED custody till March 3. The agency said the money laundering probe was linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides. Malik was produced in a special PMLA court where it claimed the NCP leader was "actively" involved in "terror funding".
Special judge R N Rokade, designated to hear matters related to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), said that prima facie, there are reasonable grounds to believe that allegations against Nawab Malik are "well-founded".
The court while remanding him in the custody of the ED had observed that sufficient time is required to be granted for the investigation of the offence and Malik's custodial interrogation was necessary.
"Prima facie, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accusations are well-founded under PMLA,"the judge observed.
The ED case is based on an FIR filed recently by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Ibrahim, a fugitive gangster, and others. The NIA had filed its criminal complaint under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has said it is the prerogative of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray whether to accept or reject the resignation of his cabinet colleagues.
"The BJP which is in power at the national level misuses central probe agencies for political gains, arrests our ministers and then holds protests seeking resignation. But it is Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray who has the authority to decide whether to accept or reject such a resignation. As the BJP is indulging in politics, we will also make some political moves," the Sena's Rajya Sabha member said.
Notably, after Malik's arrest, the BJP has started demanding Malik's removal from the state cabinet, but the ruling allies - Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress - have rejected the possibility of his resignation.