Ex-State Chief Appointed People With 'Dubious Pakistan Connections': India's Maharashtra Minister

Shri Nawab Malik - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.11.2021
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State Minister Nawab Malik and Bharatiya Janata Party politician Devendra Fadnavis have been engaged in a war of words for the last few days over star kid Aryan Khan's drug case. Both of them have accused each other of having links to the underworld.
A state minister in India's Maharashtra on Wednesday blamed senior BJP politician Devendra Fadnavis for appointing people with “dubious Pakistan connections” at key posts during his stint as state chief, as well as running a fake currency racket.
State Minister Nawab Malik belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), one of the alliance partners in the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government, while Fadnavis's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the main opposition in the state legislative assembly.

In a morning press conference, Malik claimed: “With the blessing of Fadnavis, the game of counterfeit notes started in Maharashtra. After demonetisation was declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and when fake currency was being seized in many states, no case was registered in Maharashtra for almost a year.”

“On 8 October, 2017, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence conducted a raid and seized fake currency worth INR 145 million ($1.96 million) but the case was weakened by Fadnavis, (the then state chief) showing a seizure of only INR 880,000 ($11,866),” he added.
He also accused Fadnavis of "diverting the issue", and said the former state chief was trying to "defend one officer [apparent hint about Narcotics Control Bureau officer Sameer Wankhede - ed. note]... a man who is framing innocent people in fake cases.” Malik has also routinely accused the opposition BJP of using the anti-drugs agency to entrap Aryan Khan, son of the Bollywood star Sharukh Khan.
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The 23-year-old was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on 3 October for alleged possession and consumption of drugs at a rave party on a Goa-bound cruise off the coast of Mumbai.
Malik said it could be a coincidence that Sameer Wankhede was in charge of the fake currency case. “Wankhede, who has been serving in the city for the last 14 years, was joint commissioner (intelligence) DRI," he stated.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is India's apex anti-smuggling intelligence, investigations, and operations agency.
"Is Fadnavis making allegations against me to divert attention from Wankhede, who is facing serious charges and is being investigated...,” asked Malik, who has also leveled a series of allegations against Wankhede.
The NCP politician also accused Fadnavis of saving one Imran Aslam Shaikh after he was caught in a fake currency case and having links with Riyaz Bhati, an alleged aide to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Malik said Fadnavis appointed Munna Yadav, a criminal from Nagpur city, and Haider Azam, a “Bangladeshi extortionist”, to the statutory corporations of the state government to shield them.
Questioning the alleged link of Fadnavis with Bhati, Malik said the latter was arrested with two passports, had links with Ibrahim but got released within two days.
“This happened even as he had a serious criminal record. Why is Bhati seen at all the events along with you (Fadnavis) and at your dining table? How come he was allowed to attend the Prime Minister’s event in Mumbai and allowed to click pictures with him as well," the minister asked.
"No person can attend a Prime Minister’s event without state and central intelligence agencies scanning his background. How come Bhati got a VIP pass?” Minister Malik said.
The fresh allegations came a day after Fadnavis alleged Minister Malik and his family members were involved in land deals with people associated with the underworld.
The former state chief had accused Malik of engaging in dubious property deals with two Bombay blast convicts. He alleged that the NCP politician, through a company, Solidus Investments Private Limited, owned by his family, bought a prime property in Kurla, by undervaluing the land.
“The property was bought from 1993 Bombay blast convicts Salim Patel and Sardar Shahab Ali Khan at throwaway prices and the deal was executed between 2003 and 2005,” he had said.
The 1993 bombings were the first in a series of three major terrorist attacks over 15 years, all of them aimed at the heart of India’s commercial capital.
Refuting all the allegations, Malik on Tuesday said that he would drop a "hydrogen bomb" on Fadnavis, exposing his alleged “links with the underworld”.
Shortly after Malik leveled the allegations, Fadnavis tweeted: “I learned long ago. Never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty. And Besides, the pig likes it!”
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