Mumbai: A special court here on Wednesday refused bail to former Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik in an alleged money laundering case linked to a land deal in which fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides were involved.
R N Rokade, special judge for cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), had reserved his order on the bail plea on November 14 after hearing lengthy arguments.
While the detailed order was not yet available, the judge while pronouncing the order said the two conditions laid down under section 45 of the PMLA were not satisfied.
Section 45 says that a court can grant bail in PMLA cases if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accused is not prima facie guilty of the offence, and he or she shall not commit any offence if released.
The court also relied on the statements of witnesses and said there was continued possession of the tainted property.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Malik, a senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), in February 2022. He is currently undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Mumbai. Malik’s bail application, filed in July, contended that there was no “predicate offence” against him.
The Enforcement Directorate can start an investigation only when there is a prior or predicate offence registered by any other agency in the matter.
But the ED, which opposed bail, argued that a case registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Dawood Ibrahim and his henchmen was considered to be a predicate offence.
Malik was dealing with Ibrahim and his sister Hasina Parkar and “there is no question of him being innocent,” the central agency said.
The NIA had earlier registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Dawood Ibrahim, a designated global terrorist and key accused in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case, and his aides under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
As per the ED case, Malik usurped property worth Rs 300 crore in Kurla area of Mumbai belonging to Munira Plumber through Solidus Investments, a company owned by Malik’s family, with the active connivance of Hasina Parkar and other associates of Dawood Ibrahim.
The plumber in her statement to the ED claimed that she had never sold the property to Malik. He conspired with Parkar and Salim Patel who were involved in the laundering of illegally usurped property or proceeds of crime, the ED alleged.
Malik, who was the minority development minister in the previous Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government, claimed that he was implicated in the case for political reasons.
The NCP leader, who was also the chief spokesperson of his party, was in news prior to his arrest as he had made several allegations against Sameer Wankhede, then zonal director of Narcotics Control Bureau, after actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan was arrested by the NCB in an alleged drug bust.