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MVA allies throw weight behind Nawab Malik over his questioning by ED

The NCP lashed out at the BJP over Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik's questioning by the ED in a money laundering case

NCP leader Nawab Malik. Photo: ANI

NCP leader Nawab Malik. Photo: ANI

Press Trust of India Mumbai
The NCP on Wednesday lashed out at the BJP over Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik's questioning by the ED in a money laundering case, saying this was another instance of "misuse of power" and a pressure tactic to silence his voice since he had exposed wrongdoings of some people.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said his party had anticipated such an action against Malik as he "speaks openly". The Shiv Sena and Congress, which share power with the NCP in Maharashtra, also threw their weight behind 62-year-old Malik, saying they need to unitedly fight against the tactics to silence political opponents.
The BJP, however, said the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) action should not be called "vendetta politics" and if leaders of the ruling parties feel there is misuse of power, they can move court to seek justice.
Malik's office in a Twitter post said the ED officials came to his residence here in the morning and accompanied him in his vehicle to the probe agency's office, and asserted that he won't be afraid and won't bow down.
The ED questioned Maharashtra Minority Affairs Minister and NCP's chief spokesperson Malik in a money laundering probe linked to the activities of the Mumbai underworld, fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides, officials said.
Reacting to the ED's move, Pawar said, "Which case have they dug up? It is simple. They take the name of Dawood, especially if there is a Muslim activist (against whom a case is dug up)There is no relation (between the activist concerned and underworld), but it is done.
Pawar recalled that he too was targeted similarly in the early 90s when he was the chief minister of Maharashtra and an atmosphere was created against him.
Twenty-five years have passed since then. Similarly, names (of underworld) are being taken to defame people, trouble them and misuse the powerpeople who take positions against the Centre or the misuse of probe agencies are being troubled and this is what has happened here, he said.
NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto alleged that the action against Malik was nothing but pressure tactics to silence his voice.
He was exposing the wrongdoings of some people as a Chief Spokesperson of a political party. Voices of truth cannot be silenced, Crasto tweeted.
NCP workers protested near the party's headquarters, located close to the ED's office in south Mumbai. The workers shouted slogans slamming the BJP-led central government and the ED.
NCP Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule said Maharashtra has never bowed down before the Centre and it never will.
She said it was unfortunate that the Centre was using its machinery against the BJP's political rivals in a suppressive manner.
Sule, who is the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, claimed the ED's notice is issued only to opposition leaders.
Once you quit your own party and join them, then the notice disappears or goes into a shredder. We should know which shredder is this, she said sarcastically without taking any name.
Maharashtra NCP president and state minister Jayant Patil said this was another instance of "misuse of power".
"The ED reached his (Malik's) residence at 6 am without issuing any notice. The ED had brought with it its own police. Some people may be deliberately trying to trouble him, he claimed.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the ED officials took away Malik from his home for questioning.
"This is a challenge to the Maharashtra government. The central investigation agencies, like a mafia, are targeting BJP's political opponents who expose falsehood. But, truth will prevail and the fight will continue," the Shiv Sena's spokesperson said.
"This (targeting of individuals by digging old cases) will continue till 2024 and after that they will have to face the consequences," Raut said in a veiled attack on the BJP and central agencies.
Raut alsosaid he spoke to all senior leaders of the MVA and claimed he will soon "expose" the central probe agencies.
Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole termed Malik's questioning by the ED as an act of "revenge" and said the need of the hour was to unitedly fight against the tactics to silence political opponents.
He said the Congress stands firmly with Malik, who has been raising his voice against the BJP's "anti-people" policies and its "arrogance of power".
However, state BJP state president Chandrakant Patil said if leaders of the NCP and other MVA constituents think that the ED's action against Nawab Malik is misuse of power, they can approach court to seek justice.
"We (BJP) have been subjected to injustice for the last 27 months (by the state government), but when our 12 MLAs were suspended, we went to court and got justice. Similarly, if they think that victimisation is happening, they should approach the court," he said.
Senior BJP leader and former state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, "Malik is not a state-level leader of the NCP. If he has done something suspicious, then it should be probed. There should not be a rush to stamp it as vendetta politics.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 23 2022 | 4:10 PM IST

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