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Nawab Malik Says Devendra Fadnavis Has 'Underworld Links', BJP Leader Hits Back

The verbal attack comes after Devendra Fadnavis had accused Malik of dealings with the underworld.

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As the war of words between Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis continues, Malika, on Wednesday, 10 November, alleged that Fadnavis had connections with the underworld.

Malik also alleged that the BJP leader was attempting to defend Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) official Sameer Wankhede.

In a series of allegations made at a press conference, Malik suggested that Fadnavis had links with the members of the mafia:

"Nagpur's notorious criminal Munna Yadav was appointed chairman of Construction Workers' Board by Devendra Fadnavis during his government. One Haidar Azam, involved in illegal immigration of Bangladeshis, was appointed chairman of Maulana Azad Finance Corporation by Fadnavis."
Nawam Malik, as quoted by news agency ANI
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"One Riyaz Bhati, a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, was arrested at Mumbai airport with a fake passport. He was allowed bail in 2 days only. Why was Riyaz Bhati in close contact with you (Devendra Fadnavis)? Bhati has been seen with many big leaders in pictures," the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader added.

The verbal attack comes after Fadnavis on Tuesday had accused Malik of having had dealings over property with people from the underworld who have been convicted in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case.

'Devendra Fadnavis Trying To Defend Sameer Wankhede': Nawab Malik

Nawab Malik, who has also made a number of contentious claims about NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede in the recent past, was quoted as saying by ANI:

"I'm fighting against a man who is framing innocent people in fake cases. Devendra Fadnavis is not only diverting my issue but also trying to defend one officer (Sameer Wankhede)."

Malik also said that Wankhede and Fadnavis were involved in the covering up of a fake note racket following demonetisation.

"On 8 October 2017, DRI conducted raids at BKC (Bandra Kurla Complex) in which counterfeit notes with a face value of 14.56 crores were seized. Devendra Fadnavis had helped suppress this matter," the minister said, ANI reported.

"Sameer Wankhede's appointment to the post of Intelligence Revenue was done on 1 July 2017. How has Wankhede been getting postings in Mumbai for the last several years?" he questioned.
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Malik had previously alleged that Wankhede, who has been accused of bribery in the drugs-on-cruise case, had forged his documents and lied about his religion to acquire a government job.

"Devendra Fadnavis is diverting the fight. I am fighting against the extortion of innocent people in NCB," Malik said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Wankhede has denied the charges levelled against him by the NCP leader.

"Nawab Malik's allegations are baseless. Face value of counterfeit notes seized in 2017 was around 10lakh not around 14 cr. 3 persons were arrested in the matter. At that time DRI had approached NIA to probe the matter, but NIA didn't take over the case," he said, ANI reported.

On the other hand, Devendra Fadnavis posted a cryptic tweet, suggesting that he did not wish to engage with Malik's allegations:

BJP's Ashish Shelar also reacted to Malik's claims.

"Those who claimed hydrogen bombs could not even burst sparklers. Yes, Munna Yadav, Haji Arafat and Haider Azam are party workers (but) there is not a single case against Arafat and Azam. They were included only after checking. None of this happened during Fadnavis' time," he was quoted as saying by NDTV.

(With inputs from NDTV and ANI.)

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