ED and CISF teams reached Nawab Malik's home on Wednesday to question him on the 17-year-old Kurla land deal case having a mafia taint.
New Delhi: Much to the embarrassment to Shiv Sena-led coalition dispensation in Maharashtra, state minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday (February 23).
ED Assistant Director Niraj Kumar said in his arrest order that the agency has "reason to believe" that Malik "has been found guilty of an offence punishable under the provisions of PMLA."
Shortly after the formal arrest, Malik was whisked away by an ED team to a government hospital for a medical check-up and then produced before a designated special PMLA court.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh represented the ED while Malik's counsel was Amit Desai. The vocal minister's colleagues, kins and political activists reached the court.
The fast-paced developments started with ED and CISF teams knocking on Malik's home at around 4.30 am (Wednesday) and taking him away a couple of hours later for questioning in the 17-year-old Kurla land deal case having a mafia taint.
The episode is seen as a massive jolt to the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. Malik is the Minority Affairs Minister in Uddhav Thackeray's government, but the coalition partners decided not to drop him from the cabinet.
A series of meetings took place between top leaders of Shiv Sena, Sharad Pawar-led NCP and Congress, sources said in Mumbai. Several NCP workers staged a noisy protest outside the ED's office.
Another key NCP leader and former Home Minister, Anil Deshmukh, was arrested by the ED on November 2 last year in a money-laundering and corruption cases.
NCP chief Pawar held a meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, the incumbent Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal, Ashok Chavan. Pawar also reportedly spoke on the matter with his colleagues, Jayant Patil, Supriya Sule and Majeed Memon, and Sena leader Sanjay Raut.
BJP Leader and LoP Devendra Fadnavis termed the matter as "extremely serious" since the land worth crores of rupees was allegedly grabbed at a throwaway price in the deal. The persons are linked to absconding mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, the BJP leaders say. BJP State President Chandrakant Patil demanded that since Malik has been arrested, he should quit.
In October, the BJP alleged that Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik had tried to create 'disharmony' on religion and caste lines, thereby creating unrest in the society.
A senior BJP leader, Atul Bhatkhalkar, said Malik targeted a Central Govt officer, NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, for discharging his duties vis-à-vis a high-profile drug case linked to actor Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan. Wankhede had led the cruise drug bust relating to superstar Shah Rukh Khan's son, Aryan Khan,