SC agrees to list Nawab Malik’s plea against arrest by ED

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to list a plea by Maharashtra cabinet minister and senior NCP leader Nawab Malik, challenging the Bombay High Court, which declined his interim release in a habeas corpus petition.

Malik has claimed that his arrest was completely illegal.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal urged a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana to grant urgent listing on the petition. Sibal said: “This is the Nawab Malik matter where ED is taking proceedings… The Act came into place in 2005, and the transaction is prior to 2000”.

The Chief Justice said: “Yes, we will list”.

On March 15, the Bombay high court rejected Malik’s interim application seeking immediate release in a case of money laundering registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Malik was arrested on February 23 based on an FIR registered against terrorist Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.

The high court held that Malik was arrested by the ED, and subsequently remanded to custody following due process and there was no reason for it to pass any interim order for his release.

Denying relief to Malik, the high court had said that just because the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court’s order remanding him in custody is not in his favour, it does not make it illegal or wrong.

Malik has claimed that the high court refusing to grant him interim release is in violation of the settled position in Arnab Goswami vs. Maharashtra government case. The plea contended that his petition was strictly on the law, and the high court could not have given prima facie finding regarding Section 3 of PMLA, without giving reasons.

The ED has alleged that Munira Plumber’s prime property in Kurla, worth Rs 300 crore as per current market value, was usurped by Malik through Solidus Investments Pvt. Ltd, a company purportedly owned by his family members. The agency has claimed that this was done in connivance with Dawood’s sister Haseena Parkar, her bodyguard Salim Patel and 1993 bomb blasts convict Sardar Shah Wali Khan.

In his plea in the top court, Malik claimed his arrest was illegal and violated his fundamental rights, as well as statutory provisions, and he was entitled to writ of habeas corpus.

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