Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik on Wednesday accused Devendra Fadnavis of patronising a fake currency racket and shielding people with underworld links during the latter’s tenure as chief minister.
He levelled fresh charges against the former chief minister a day after Fadnavis alleged Malik and his family members got into land deals with people associated with the underworld. Malik dismissed the allegations as baseless and said he will “drop a hydrogen bomb” of revelations against Fadnavis on Wednesday.
Malik on Wednesday accused Fadnavis of saving one Imran Aslam Shaikh after he was caught in a fake currency case and having inks with Riyaz Bhati, an alleged aide to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Malik said Fadnavis appointed Munna Yadav, a criminal from Nagpur, and Haider Azam, a “Bangladeshi extortionist”, to the statutory corporations of the state government to shield them.
Shortly after Malik levelled the allegations, Fadnavis tweeted: “I learned long ago. Never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty. And Besides, The pig likes it!”
Malik said when demonetisation of high currency notes was announced in November 2016 and the fake currency was being seized, no such case was registered in Maharashtra for almost a year. He added in October 2017, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized fake currency worth ₹14.56 crore but the case was weakened after Fadnavis’s intervention. “A seizure of just ₹8.80 lakh was shown and the accused Imran Alam Shaikh got bail and no probe was conducted further. Shaikh is the younger brother of Haji Arafat Shaikh, a BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) leader, who was appointed as chairman of State Minorities Commission by Fadnavis…”
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 last 14 years, was joint commissioner (intelligence) DRI. 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 levelled a series of allegations against Wankhede.
He questioned Fadnavis’s alleged links with Bhati and said the latter was arrested with two passports, had links with Ibrahim but got released within two days. “This happened even as he was 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. 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?”
When asked about Bhati’s photographs with Sharad Pawar, the head of his party, Malik said he was not raising questions over photographs as they can be taken with anybody in public life. “You (Fadnavis) appointed those with criminal backgrounds to government positions, allowed… fake currency and made extortion through Bhati.”