MUMBAI: Maharashtra Minority Affairs Minister and NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik insisted on Thursday that the seven places in Pune raided by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were not Waqf Board offices, as was depicted in the media but on one endowment trust, with regard to irregularities to the tune of Rs 10 crore.
Malik further said his ministry had already taken action in the matter; an FIR was filed and five people had been arrested in connection with the case. Three people had got bail, he added.
The MVA minister said the ED should have issued a statement “instead of planting news in the media”. He also ridiculed media reports which suggested that the ED raids would soon reach his doorstep, saying that if at all the Central probe agency wanted to do so, it was welcome.
Malik said it was not clear if the ED raids on Thursday were at the behest of the BJP and when the FIR was lodged. “The ED alone can clarify whether Devendra Fadnavis lodged the complaint or not. I only learnt that there have been some raids and that television channels were saying ‘Nawab Malik is in trouble,’” he added.
“I plan to continue my campaign against injustice to innocent people by probe agencies trapping them in legal cases. I will not be scared by news of ED raids. Despite having received threats to my life, I am continuing my fight,” he avowed.
“News reports are claiming that now Nawab Malik is in trouble as the ED has taken up some cases pertaining to his ministry. I welcome the ED and we will cooperate with them in every possible way. But if there is a campaign to threaten me or to malign my image because of the fight that I have started against Central agencies, then I would say the Maharashtra government, Maharashtra’s ministers and leaders are not scared of Central agencies,” said Malik.
Malik called upon the ED to assist in the ‘clean-up’ campaign launched by his minority affairs ministry, especially in the Waqf Board and asked the Central agency to inquire into the 30,000 trusts which come under the board’s jurisdiction. “We will extend full co-operation,” he noted.
Since the new government had assumed power in 2019, the minority affairs department had been pursuing a clean-up campaign and had increased transparency by going digital. He noted that shortly, a portal would be launched, adding that all papers and records would be duly preserved. According to Malik, in the last one year, in all, seven FIRs had been lodged against various trusts and they were being probed.
Malik said it was for the first time that 10 members were appointed on the Waqf Board and also a full-time chief executive officer with a two-year tenure.
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