The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the bail plea of Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case stemming from the purchase of property of an aide of absconding gangster Dawood Ibrahim.
A Bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant refused to interfere with the Bombay High Court order of March 15, since the probe is still at a nascent stage. It, however, advised Malik to avail of the remedy available under the law from the trial court.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Malik, asserted that there is no case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) since there is no predicate offence. He pointed out that Malik has been arrested in 2022 for something that happened over two decades earlier in 1999.
On March 15, the Bombay High Court had rejected Malik's interim application seeking immediate release in the case; the court had reasoned that just because the special PMLA court's order remanding him in custody was not in his favour, it does not make that the order illegal or wrong.
The Enforcement Directorate had arrested Malik in February under provisions of the PMLA after which he had filed a habeas corpus plea in the high court. However, the high court said he still has the option to seek bail from the special court, which remanded him to ED's custody initially and then in judicial custody.
The central agency has accused Malik of being part of an alleged criminal conspiracy to usurp a property in Mumbai's Kurla area which currently has a market value of Rs 300 crore and belongs rightfully to one Munira Plumber.
Malik contended before the HC that he had bought the property in a bonafide transaction decades ago, and Plumber has now changed her mind about the transaction.