A Mumbai court on Wednesday sent Maharashtra minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik to the Enforcement Directorate’s custody till March 3 in an alleged money laundering case, Live Law reported.

The Enforcement Directorate had arrested Malik on Wednesday afternoon in connection with a money laundering case involving fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides, ANI reported. After a medical checkup at Mumbai’s JJ Hospital, Malik has been produced before a city court which looks into money laundering cases.

“Have been arrested, but won’t be scared...We will fight and win,” Malik had told reporters outside the Enforcement Directorate office after being held.

Earlier on Wednesday, Malik was picked up by the Enforcement Directorate officials from his home and taken to their office for questioning. The Nationalist Congress Party leader’s son, lawyer Aamir Malik, accompanied them.

The central agency is conducting an investigation against Ibrahim and his aides Iqbal Mirchi, Chhota Shakeel and Javed Chikna in connection with alleged illegal money transfers in cases of extortion, drug trafficking and others, according to The Indian Express.

The Enforcement Directorate’s inquiry is based on a case filed by the National Investigation Agency earlier this month against Ibrahim and his aides under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

In recent months, Malik has made several allegations against Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and former Narcotics Control Bureau Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede in connection to the Mumbai cruise ship drugs case, involving actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan.

Malik has also accused Wankhede of being part of an extortion racket linked to drug cases against Bollywood actors.

Court proceedings

At Wednesday’s hearing, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the special Money Laundering Act court in Mumbai that Ibrahim’s sister Haseena Parker had acquired a property in the city’s Kurla area and then sold it “illegally” to Malik for about Rs 50 lakhs, reported Live Law.

Singh said that the property originally belonged to two people identified as Munira and Marium. The additional solicitor general said that Munira had told the Enforcement Directorate that she did not receive any money for sale of the the property.

“The value of the property was 3.3 crores but was purchased for Rs 50 lakhs,” Singh said. “And the property was purchased by illegal authorisation through the power of attorney. They want to develop the property now.”

Senior Advocate Amit Dave, appearing for Malik, submitted that the transactions pertaining to the case were done in 1999, before the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, was enacted. He argued that the case does not stand as Article 20 of the Constitution prohibits retrospective application of criminal law.

Dave also said the case was intended to create the perception that an elected representative of Maharashtra government is involved in anti-national activities.

‘Malik will not be asked to resign from state Cabinet’

After a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, state Cabinet minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Chhagan Bhujbal said that Malik will not be asked to resign from his post as the minority affairs minister, reported ANI.

The statement came after BJP’s Maharashtra unit President Chandrakant Patil told reporters Malik should now resign from his post.

“If he doesn’t [resign], we will protest. How are they running the government?” Patil said, according to ANI.

Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar alleged that the Enforcement Directorate’s actions was was an attempt to harass people who spoke about the alleged misuse of central agencies.

“Nawab Malik has been very outspoken and we were sure that some issue will be raked up by them to trouble him,” Pawar said. “If there is a Muslim activist who is their opponent, it is their habit to link his name to Dawood.”

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that targeting individuals by digging up old cases will continue till the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

“This is a challenge to the Maharashtra government. The central investigation agencies, like a mafia, are targeting Bharatiya JanNationalist Congress Partyata Party’s political opponents who expose falsehood,” Raut said, according to PTI. “But, the truth will prevail and the fight will continue.”

Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule said that the Enforcement Directorate’s action was “an insult to Maharashtra”, ANI reported. “For many days BJP leaders have been tweeting that Enforcement Directorate notice will be issued against Nawab Malik...,” Sule said. “They directly took him to the Enforcement Directorate office without any notice.”