Money Laundering Case: HC Rejects Nawab Malik’s Interim Relief

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday rejected the direct release of NCP leader and state minister Nawab Malik who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for alleged money laundering and actively involving in terror funding in connection with a 1999 land deal with don Dawood Ibrahim’s sister.

The court note that “As certain debatable issues are raised, they require to be heard at length. Considering the grounds assigned by us we are not inclined to allow the prayers in the interim application. Interim applications rejected,” The bench said that once Malik’s lawyers move his plea for final hearing, it will accordingly fix the date for the same.

A division bench of Justices Prasanna B Varale and Shriram M Modak had on March 11 concluded the hearing in the case and reserved the interim order in Malik’s habeas corpus plea which claimed that his arrest was “illegal”, done with “political vendetta” and without following due process under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Malik told the HC that the ED wants to keep him in jail by alleging that he continues to have under his possession the property Goawala Building in Mumbai’s Kurla, which is reportedly involved in a money laundering case.

The NCP leader was arrested by the ED on February 23 and remanded in the agency’s custody. On Monday, a special court sent him to judicial custody till March 21. Malik told the high court that the ED has retrospectively applied the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), which came into force after the alleged transaction which is said to have taken place nearly 22 years ago.

Senior advocate Amit Desai, along with advocates Taraq Sayed and Kushal Mor appearing for Malik, argued that his client has been implicated though no predicate offence or transaction for which he has been booked had taken place in 1999, 2003 or 2005. Desai added that the case is based on statements by persons who are not credible.

He added that mere possession of the property would not imply that he was involved in money laundering as it could have been done by someone else and Malik then came into possession without knowing if the purchase was made out of laundered money.

The ED, in its affidavit seeking dismissal of the plea filed through assistant director (Mumbai zone) Niraj Kumar, said Malik’s plea sought to combine multiple causes of action, including habeas corpus, quashing of ECIR and release/bail in a single petition and it amounted to “misjoinder (improperly joining together)” and therefore, the plea was not maintainable.

The ED is investigating the mode and method of payment used for the purchase of Goawala Building in Kurla.

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