Maha BJP marches on the road seeking Nawab Malik s ouster

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Mumbai, March 9

 The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday conducted a rally at Azad Maidan followed by a procession (morcha) to Metro Cinema, demanding the resignation or sacking of arrested Minister Nawab Malik.

The rally was addressed by top leaders including state President Chandrakant Patil, Leaders of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis (Assembly) and Pravin Darekar, who said they would not rest till Malik was out of the cabinet.

The Mumbai Police, present in strength, stopped the procession wending its way from Azad Maidan to Metro Cinema and detained a majority of the top leaders who were subsequently taken to the police station.

They included Patil, Fadnavis, Darekar, Ashish Shelar, Nitesh Rane, Manoj Kotak, Chandrashekar Bawankule, Ashish Shelar, Kirit Somaiya, Mohit Bharatiya, and others, who were whisked off in a police van to Yellow Gate Police Station and released a few minutes later.

On stepping out, Fadnavis vowed that the BJP's 'struggle' will continue till Malik is ousted and other leaders warned of similar protests or processions across Maharashtra.

In late-February, Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik was detained by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an early morning swoop at his home and after 8 hours of interrogation, arrested.

The action against Malik came in an alleged money-laundering case arising out of a purportedly 'tainted' land deal two decades ago, reportedly involving the absconding mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar and his kin.

Though Malik – currently in judicial custody till March 21 – has rubbished the ED's contentions and challenged his 'illegal arrest', the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress have stood behind him solidly.

Dismissing the BJP demands for Malik's removal from the cabinet, the MVA leaders have countered by asking whether Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane had resigned after he was arrested in August 2021 by Maharashtra Police in a case pertaining to a slur on Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

The BJP has been clamouring for Malik's scalp, labelling him 'anti-national, traitor, having mafia links, etc', both inside the Legislature and outside and has threatened to continue its agitation till 'truth prevails' and the Minister is out of the Cabinet.

On Monday, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut created a sensation in political circles, labelling the ED as "an extortionist" and the BJP's "ATM", both running an extortion racket, and demanded an investigation into the central agency's officials, but the BJP has outrightly rejected the allegations.



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