Maharashtra BJP on Saturday continued to target the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state over the arrest of its minister Nawab Malik, and sought to know why Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was not asking him to step down.
Talking to reporters in Pune, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said that in the past, some other ministers in the MVA government had resigned after facing allegations, so Malik should follow suit. "Malik has been booked under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and has been arrested. If a government employee faces criminal charges and is arrested, then that person is not only suspended, but also loses job. So why doesn't the same rule apply to Malik and why his boss is not seeking his resignation?" he asked.
By not taking his resignation, the government is protecting an accused and the BJP will never tolerate it, he said.
Malik, state Minority Affairs Minister and also chief spokesperson of the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday in a money laundering probe linked to the activities of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his aides. He was remanded in the ED custody till March 3. On Friday, he was admitted to a state-run hospital in Mumbai after he complained of stomach pain. Following his arrest, MVA leaders have ruled out the possibility of Malik's resignation.
Patil said, "Our one-day agitation (to seek Malik's resignation) was a warning to the state government. But going by its stand on the issue, it seems we will have to continue our protest over the demand." Why are there different set of rules for ministers of NCP and Shiv Sena when they faced serious allegations, he asked.
"Earlier, Sanjay Rathod and Anil Deshmukh were asked to step down as ministers after they faced different allegations. But why Malik's resignation is not being sought despite his arrest?" he asked. In February last year, Rathod had resigned after his name was linked to a woman’s death, while Deshmukh had quit in April following allegations of corruption levelled by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. Deshmukh was later arrested by the ED.
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