Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Devendra Fadnavis spoke to the media on Wednesday, 2 March, on NCP leader Nawab Malik's arrest, saying that it was unfortunate to see the Shiv Sena government supporting someone "whose hands are stained with the blood of innocent people" killed in the 1993 Mumbai blasts.
"What had never happened in Maharashtra or the country before, can now be seen happening here," Fadnavis said.
Nawab Malik, a minister in the Uddhav Thackeray's Maharashtra government and a senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, was sent to Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody till 3 March on 23 February, in connection with a money laundering case linked to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim .
"The entire state cabinet and state government is standing to save Nawab Malik who was involved in money laundering with bomb blast accused Dawood Ibrahim," Fadnavis, a former chief minister of Maharashtra, added.
"People whose hands are stained with the blood of innocent people who died in the Mumbai blast are being supported by the Shiv Sena-led government. Who are they siding with? Somebody who is accused of helping Dawood Ibrahim," Fadnavis stated.
The BJP minister, who had previously alleged that Malik has 'underworld links', reiterated that Malik, who "destroyed Mumbai" should resign.
"It is unfortunate that the government whose chief is a Shiv Sena leader is standing behind somebody who destroyed Mumbai. Nawab Malik should resign, we will fight for this in the Assembly."Maharashtra LoP Devendra Fadnavis
Earlier, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had stated that those who speak against the BJP and speak the truth are harassed.
"There is nothing new in this. We were expecting the action against Nawab Malik since he was openly expressing his stand... Those who express their views openly against the BJP government and the investigating agencies, those who speak the truth, are being harassed," The Indian Express quoted the leader as saying.
Previous Allegations by the Maharashtra LoP
The arrest had followed a passionate feud between the BJP and Malik. While the latter had accused Fadnavis of protecting Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) official Sameer Wankhede, the saffron party leader had 'exposed' Malik's alleged mafia dealings.
In a series of allegations made by Fadnavis in November 2021, the BJP leader accused Nawab Malik of having had dealings over property with people from the underworld who have been convicted in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case.
"He purchased land from convicts of the case on rates cheaper than market rates. Was this deal to save prime land from being forfeited under TADA law?" Fadnavis had asked then.
Fadnavis had also alleged that in 2005, Malik's son Faraz had bought land on LBS Road from a Mumbai bombing accused.
BJP had been demanding Malik's arrest all along.
(With inputs from ANI.)