Maharashtra Minister Urges Court To Quash Arrest Citing Rights Violation

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Maharashtra minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Nawab Malik on Tuesday urged the Bombay High Court to set aside his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate claiming it violated his fundamental right to life and liberty.

Mr Malik’s counsel, senior advocate Amit Desai, told the High Court the NIA was trying to connect the minister with gangster Dawood Ibrahim and cases related to the fugitive, even though his client had nothing to do with them.

“My remand paper deals all with the Dawood gang even though I am not related to it. They (ED) have tried to suggest that on Feb 3, 2022, they had registered an FIR against Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar. It goes into folklore around Dawood and into incidents going back to 30 years ago,” Mr Desai said.

“They say they registered an ECIR on February 14 this year, and two other FIRS of 2017 with which I (Malik) am not concerned. But they are trying to suggest that there is a predicate offence with which I am concerned,” Mr Desai told court.

Mr Desai also argued that provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) had been applied in the present case against Malik retrospectively.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who appeared for the ED, told the High Court, economic offences were continuing offences and the central agency was correct in imposing PMLA sections.

Besides, the issue of retrospective application of PMLA in cases of economic offences was also being considered by the Supreme Court, Mr Singh said.

Mr Desai, however, told court the ED had itself conceded in its affidavit that it was undecided on the issue of retrospective application of the law.

“They (ED) themselves are confused on the point whether the law is retrospectively applicable or not, then a person’s liberty cannot be taken away (till SC decides those questions),” Mr Desai said.

The High Court will continue hearing the arguments on Wednesday.

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