Mumbai, Feb 23 (IANS): In a significant development, a team of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) landed at the home of Nationalist Congress Party leader and Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik around 6 a.m. and took him away for questioning here on Wednesday morning.
Since dawn, a team of ED sleuths is grilling Malik -- who had made a series of exposes against the former Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Mumbai head Sameer Wankhede -- and also the ED in the recent past.
According to party officials, Malik is being interrogated for an alleged deal on a Kurla property, Goawala Compound, 17 years ago, said to be owned by a couple of close associates of absconder mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar.
The issue was first highlighted by Bharatiya Janata Party's Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis in November 2021 but Malik had hit back terming it as 'making a mountain out of a molehill'.
Soon after Malik was taken away by the agency sleuths, NCP President Sharad Pawar, state President and Minister Jayant Patil, MP Supriya Sule, spokesperson Vidya Chavan, MLA Rohit Pawar, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and farmer leader Kishore Tiwari and others slammed the ED for its 'selective' targeting of Sena-NCP leaders.
A National Spokesperson of the party, Malik is the second NCP minister to come under the ED scanner. Former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who went to the agency on November 1, 2021, was arrested early the next morning, and remains in custody till now.
Last week, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had raided certain properties linked with the absconder mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar and his relatives in Mumbai.
Five days ago, the ED arrested the don's younger brother, Iqbal Ibrahim Kaskar in connection with a money-laundering case lodged against him.
Chavan and Tiwari strongly condemned the manner in which the Opposition BJP is abusing the official machinery and central agencies to pursue political vendetta and 'silence' opponents who dare to speak against them.
However, BJP's legislators Atul Bhatkalkar and Ram Kadam pointed out that the party had already submitted full details of an alleged business deal between Malik and the mafia don.
Bhatkalkar demanded that if the business deals by Malik are proved in the investigations or if the NCP leader is found to be acting as a 'front' for the mafia, then he must be arrested.
Anticipating 'a call' from the agency, Malik had earlier stated that he would welcome the ED whenever they come.