Maharashtra cabinet minister Nawab Malik, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate last month, appealed to the Bombay High Court on Wednesday to pass an interim order providing for his release from custody.
“The police authorities, on fanciful grounds, cannot disgrace any disliked face under the cloud of his or her involvement in an offence of organised crime. This is my submission,” Mr Malik’s counsel Amit Desai said in the court.
He told a bench led by Justice P B Varale that the minister had brought the property in question (which is part of ED’s probe) in a bonafide transaction over two decades ago.
But, Mr Malik was now suffering because the property’s original owner, Munira Plumber, had changed her mind about having granted the power of attorney for sale of the property, Mr Desai told the High Court.
“Any date after his release we are willing to go for a full hearing of the matter, but kindly grant him interim relief. He has already spent 16 days in prison,” Mr Malik’s counsel said.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Mr Malik was arrested by the ED on February 23 in a money-laundering probe linked to the activities of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his aides. He was on Monday sent to judicial custody.
According to the ED, Mr Malik allegedly conspired to usurp Ms Plumber’s ancestral property in Kurla area of the city. The said property has a present market value of around Rs 300 crore, as per the probe agency.
“It was a bonafide sale transaction. But, now I must spend the next five years in jail because Munira says she didn’t give the power of attorney which has been registered 22 years later,” Mr Desai told the court on behalf of Mr Malik.
The High Court will continue hearing the plea on Thursday.
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