Mumbai: The NCP on Wednesday claimed Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik's questioning by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case was another instance of misuse of power and a pressure tactic to "silence his voice" since he had exposed wrongdoings of some people in the recent past.
The BJP, however, said the ED should be allowed to complete its inquiry into the case instead of dubbing the action as "vendetta politics".
The ED on Wednesday questioned state 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.
The 62-year-old NCP leader is stated to have arrived at the ED's office in south Mumbai's Ballard Estate area around 8 am and the agency is recording his statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they added.
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.
Talking to reporters in Solapur, 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. The ED taking away a state minister for probe without any prior information is violation of everything," he claimed.
Patil said he was not aware in which connection Malik is being probed and that it seemed anger is being "deliberately" expressed at the minister.
However, senior BJP leader and former state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told reporters that it is too early to call the ED's inquiry as "vendetta politics" when the details of the action are not yet out.
"What should we call the way Union minister Narayan Rane was arrested a few months back. BJP MLA Nitesh Rane is also being hounded by the state authorities. 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 any rush to stamp it as vendetta politics," Mungantiwar said.
Maharashtra BJP vice president Chitra Wagh said a few months back, serious allegations were levelled by former state CM Devendra Fadnavis against Malik in connection with a suspicious land deal.
"It should be probed thoroughly and the ED officials should be allowed to complete their investigation," she said.
The ED's move against Malik comes after registration of a new case and raids conducted by it on February 15 in Mumbai in connection with the operations of the underworld, linked alleged illegal property deals and hawala transactions.