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M'rashtra Minister Nawab Malik arrested in land deal with Dawood aide

MUMBAI, Feb 23: Maharashtra Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik was arrested on Wednesday following questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case. "We will fight and win, and expose everyone," he said.

The ED officials took the Minister to a Government hospital for medical check- up. He will be produced before the special PMLA court.

Malik was questioned over his alleged land deals with gangster Dawood Ibrahim's associates. Earlier, the ED had carried out raids at 10 locations including premises linked to Dawood Ibrahim's late sister Haseena Parkar, brother Iqbal Kaskar and Salim Qureshi alias Salim Fruit, brother-in-law of gangster Chhota Shakeel. Some evidence that emerged led to property purchases by Nawab Malik. The Minister was brought to the ED office and questioned for several hours in the morning. NCP workers staged a protest against the BJP and Central Government for questioning Malik.

Malik was in the news in recent months for raising objections over the arrest of 20 people including Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan from a cruise ship in Mumbai in a drug case by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede. He had also raised anomalies in the appointment of Sameer Wankhede. Malik's son-in-law Sameer Khan had earlier been arrested in a drugs case by the NCB's Mumbai unit last year.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar said Dawood's name is used to defame people. He said his name was also linked to Dawood when he was Chief Minister 25 years ago. He said the Centre is trargeting Malik as he "speaks openly" against the Union Government. Shiv Sena too has accused the Central agency of being politically motivated.

BJP MLA from Mumbai's Ghatkopar West Ram Kadam claimed that Malik bought land from Dawood's aide at nominal rates when it was about to be seized by the Government.

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