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HC denies interim relief to Maha minister Nawab Malik in money laundering case

HC denies interim relief to Maha minister Nawab Malik in money laundering case
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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday denied any interim relief to Maharashtra cabinet minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik in a money laundering case, and refused to pass an order for his release from judicial custody.

Malik was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on February 23 this year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) over a property deal allegedly linked to the aides of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim.

He is currently in judicial custody.

The minority affairs minister had challenged his arrest and as an interim prayer, sought that he be released from custody immediately.

However, a bench of Justices PB Varale and SM Modak on Tuesday denied any such interim relief to Malik.

The bench said the minister's petition had raised some debatable issues and the court needed to hear at length the arguments from both sides before passing any final orders.

"As certain debatable issues are raised, they require to be heard at length. We are not inclined to allow prayers in the interim application," the HC said.

Following his arrest, Malik had filed a habeas corpus plea through senior advocate Amit Desai, claiming that his arrest by the ED and the consequent remands were illegal.

He had sought that his arrest in the case be quashed and set aside and in the interim, he be released from custody immediately.

The ED has accused Malik of being part of an alleged criminal conspiracy to usurp a property in Kurla area of Mumbai that currently has a market value of Rs 300 crore and belongs rightfully to one Munira Plumber.

Malik has contended that he had bought the property in a bonafide transaction three decades ago, and that Plumber has now changed her mind about the transaction.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singha and Hiten Venegaonkar, both ED's counsels, had argued that Malik was arrested following due process under the law.

They said the central agency had adequate evidence and eyewitness accounts to prove that Malik had conspired to purchase the property illegally.

The ED had also contended that a habeas corpus plea in the present case was not maintainable and Malik should seek bail instead.

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