Mumbai: NCP chief spokesperson and Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik on Wednesday delivered on his promise to drop a ‘hydrogen bomb’ on the leader of the opposition Devendra Fadnavis, alleging that the latter was responsible for the criminalisation of politics and appointing people with underworld links on key government undertakings. He also accused Fadnavis of sweeping under the carpet a case of seized fake notes.
At a press conference, Malik said there were more ‘bombs’ to be dropped in coming days and he would spill the beans on this issue against the BJP. “Hosh unke yoon ude ki chehre pheeke pad gaye/ Hamne toh bus ye kiya unhein aaina dikha diya!” he tweeted on Wednesday evening, summing up his work so far.
The minister’s cabinet colleagues, praised him for his exposés, with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray setting the ball rolling.
Fadnavis had, on Tuesday, alleged a dubious land deal involving Malik, his family and two convicts of the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case over a decade ago, a charge refuted by the minister.
Malik claimed that Fadnavis has close links with the close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, Riaz Bhati. He asked how Bhati could have gained access to a function attended by the Prime Minister.
Bhati had been caught in a fake passport case but was released on bail in two days when Fadnavis was the CM, Malik said. “Bhati was arrested in a 2015 fake passport case, but is absconding now,” he added.
Besides, Fadnavis had appointed criminal Munna Yadav from Nagpur as the chairman of the Construction Workers Board while Haider Azmi, involved in illegal immigration from Bangladesh, had been appointed chairman of the Maulana Azad Finance Corporation, Malik claimed.
Further, he claimed that Fadnavis had protected fake currency rackets with the help of Sameer Wankhede, who was then with the DRI.
“While fake notes were seized in other states after demonetisation on November 8, 2016, there was not a single such instance in Maharashtra. At that time, Fadnavis was the chief minister of the state. On October 8, 2017, the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized fake notes worth Rs 14.56 crore from the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC). But Fadnavis helped sweep the case under the carpet. The seized amount was later shown with a value of Rs 8.8 lakhs. Why the case was not handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA)?” asked Malik, adding that incidentally, Sameer Wankhede (the Narcotics Control Bureau officer against whom Malik has levelled several serious allegations) was the DRI's joint director at that time. He noted that the notes had come from Pakistan but bail was granted immediately.
Malik claimed that the collusion between Fadnavis and Wankhede was public now. He alleged that Fadnavis had taken Wankhede’s help to save criminals. “Is Fadnavis making allegations against me to divert attention from Wankhede, who is facing serious charges and is being investigated?” he asked.
One Imran Alam Sheikh had been arrested in this case, Malik said. Later, his brother Haji Arafat Sheikh was made the chairman of the state minority commission, the minister claimed.
Malik also alleged that Fadnavis had sheltered an individual whose second wife was a Bangladeshi. When the Malad police tried investigating the case, they were pressured.