Nawab Malik, a five-term MLA from Mumbai‘s Anushakti Nagar, is the Nationalist Congress Party’s national spokesman and the Cabinet minister in the responsibility of minority development. Malik, who was born in 1959 in Dhuswa village in Uttar Pradesh‘s Gonda region to a family with enterprises in Mumbai, initially moved to Bombay as a three-month-old and lived in Dongri with his family.

Malik joined the Youth Congress after being inspired by Sanjay Gandhi. Following Gandhi’s death, he opted to join the Sanjay Vichar Manch, which was launched by Maneka Gandhi as an opposition movement against then-prime minister Indira Gandhi.

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With the Manch intending to field candidates against the Congress across the country, Malik, then 26, was urged to run in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections. Malik received only 2,950 votes in a race against two political heavyweights from Bombay North East, Gurudas Kamat and Pramod Mahajan.

After becoming disappointed with the Congress during the 1992-93 riots, Malik joined the Samajwadi Party and was awarded a ticket to stand from the Nehrunagar constituency, where he came in second place, losing to the Shiv Sena‘s Suryanat Mahadik by 14,058 votes. The Supreme Court overturned Mahadik’s election, forcing a bye poll in 1996, which Malik won by 7,000 votes.

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In 1999, he was re-elected on a Samajwadi Party ticket, which had won two seats in the polls. Following the elections, when the Congress and NCP agreed to form an alliance, the Samajwadi Party also pledged their support, in exchange for a cabinet position. Malik was appointed Minister of State for Housing and Auqaf, and months after joining the Cabinet, he began to distance himself from the Samajwadi Party. He was kicked out of the party on October 13, 2001. Malik, who had subsequently teamed up with Sharad Pawar, joined the NCP four days later.

Malik joined the NCP and later became a minister in the Congress-NCP cabinet, holding major positions such as Higher and Technical Education and Labor. Anna Hazare, a social activist, had charged him and three other ministers in the Congress-NCP cabinet of corruption. Hazare said that Malik obstructed the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority’s renovation of a chawl in Mumbai so that a private builder might gain.

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Malik resigned as a minister in 2005 when the Justice P B Sawant Commission, which was investigating corruption claims against ministers, imposed strictures on him. In his defence, Malik said that the decision to favour the builder in the project was made by the previous BJP-Shiv Sena administration, not by him.

After a three-year break, he was sworn in as the Labour Minister in the Ashok Chavan-led cabinet in 2008. When the Congress-NCP regained power in 2009, Malik was not appointed to the Cabinet and was instead appointed as the party’s spokesperson.

Malik was relegated to an organisational position in the NCP as a spokesperson after losing the 2014 elections by a margin of 1,007 votes.

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Malik is one of the few Muslim faces in the NCP, which is widely perceived to be a Maratha-centric party. Malik had played an essential role as a spokesman in taking against the BJP’s sophisticated social media organisation in the run-up to the 2019 Assembly elections. With the creation of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi administration, he returned to the state cabinet after a decade of absence. While many expected Malik to be rewarded with a high-profile ministry, he had to settle with Minority Affairs and Skill Development. He is said to be close to NCP President Sharad Pawar.

Malik’s son-in-law, a businessman Sameer Shabbir Khan, was apprehended by the Narcotics Control Bureau, commanded by Sameer Wankhede, in January 2021. The NCB apprehended a British national, Karan Sajnani, in January and reportedly found 75 kg of marijuana, 125 kg of marijuana-related stuff, and several cannabis buds brought from the United States from him. According to the NCB, money was transferred between him and Khan during his interrogation. Khan was called and subsequently arrested on January 9 as a result of this. In September, Khan was granted bail. Malik alleged that his son-in-law had been framed.

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Soon after the arrest of superstar Shah Rukh Khan‘s son Aryan Khan in a narcotics case, Malik enraged a national audience by finding material that has raised major issues about due process in the NCB’s Cordelia cruise ship operation, in which Aryan Khan was among those detained. He further accused Wankhede of fabricating drug cases and working as a BJP puppet in order to target political opponents.

Why was Malik arrested by the Enforcement Directorate?

The Enforcement Directorate detained NCP leader and state minister Nawab Malik on Wednesday morning in connection with its money-laundering investigation against underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his aides. According to reports, Malik’s name initially appeared in intelligence inputs acquired by the intelligence agencies in the hawala investigation.