Maha: Now, BJP-NCP war spills over to 'underworld links'
By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, Nov 9 (IANS) A fresh war - this time involving alleged links and deals with the mafia - erupted with Maharashtra's opposition BJP and ruling ally NCP fiercely attacking each other on Tuesday.
Firing the first salvo, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis accused NCP Minister Nawab Malik of an alleged deal with two close aides of the absconding mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar involving a prime plot of land in Kurla.
Releasing documents of the 16-year old deal before the media, Fadnavis said that a company connected with Malik, Solidus Investments Pvt Ltd (SIPL), completed the Kurla land transaction with M. Salim Ishaq Patel and Sardar Shahvali Khan, both close aides of Dawood, and the latter (Khan) a convict sentenced to life imprisonment in the March 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts.
Demanding a probe by a competent state or central authority, Fadnavis - an ex-Chief Minister - said the prime land worth several crores of rupees on LBS Marg in Kurla, was bought by the Malik-linked SIPL, signed by his son Faraz Malik, for barely Rs 30 lakh.
Hitting back, Malik refuted the allegations of "mafia links" and accused Fadnavis of attempting to "make a mountain out of a molehill", without having full knowledge of the issue.
Debunking Fadnavis's claims, Malik said that he was a tenant on the land known as Goawala Compound and had bought their ownership rights from the landlady.
"The landlady had vested her Power of Attorney (PoA) with M. Salim Ishaq Patel, on the plot, there's a building with over 125 tenants standing there since 1984 called 'Madinaturl Aman CHS', and on the adjoining land there are slums," he said.
He added that on the neighbouring plot, the SIPL had its warehouse of which the full ownership rights were given by the landlady, so how could Fadnavis say that he (Malik) created fake tenants to grab the plot at throwaway prices - around Rs 30 lakh instead of the market price of over Rs 3 crore - in an alleged deal with the mafia.
The NCP leader said that when they went to register their ownership rights, they discovered that the father of Sardar Shahvali Khan, the caretaker of the property, had usurped 300 metres of the land with his name figuring in the land records, and the tenants paid him off to clear his illegal claims.
"It is a wellknown fact that Sardar Shahvali Khan was a convict in the March 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts, but we had no deal with him. We have no knowledge of M. Ishaq Patel's alleged links with Dawood or his sister, since for us he was the authorised PoA holder of the landlady," Malik declared.
"We have not done any land deal with the mafia, as falsely alleged by Fadnavis, all transactions, financials and documents are on record in public domain. In fact, if Fadnavis had asked me, I would have provided him with even more details which his aides have failed to," he said with a smile.
Giving details, Fadnavis said that Sardar Shahavali Khan is a life-sentence convict in the 1993 terror case, while M. Salim Ishaq Patel is a former driver, bodyguard and frontman for Dawood's sister, the late Haseena Parker and also held her Power of Attorney (PoA).
"So, what was the compulsion for the Maliks to enter into a business deal with such persons who killed the people of Mumbai. There are total five such deals which clearly prove that Malik has links with the underworld," he alleged.
Fadnavis said he will hand over the documents for a probe by any suitable state or central agencies, and also copies to NCP President Sharad Pawar, to let him know the "dark" exploits of his minister.
Undaunted, Malik announced a counter-attack, saying that though Fadnavis failed to make any "post-Diwali blast" today, on Wednesday the NCP leader would drop a "Hydrogen bomb" on Fadnavis' mafia links and how held Mumbai as ransom when he was the CM (2014-2019) with the help of an underworld don.
Soon afterwards, in a separate media-briefing, BJP's ex-minister Ashish Shelar sarcastically said that in his media-briefing, "Malik has said 'kabool hai' to all the charges" levelled by Fadnavis.