The name Dawood Ibrahim is synonymous with terror and criminal activity in this country, more so after the Mumbai blasts and the horrific communal riots following the 1992 demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya. However, if he has managed to escape the security dragnet of various agencies, it is essentially because powerful politicians, bureaucrats and police officers simply do not want him back in India alive; this being so because his arrest would expose many respectable people, who have held important positions.
Interest in Dawood, who is said to be living in Karachi, has been once again revived after his brother Iqbal Kaskar was recently arrested by the Mumbai police for attempting to extort money from builders. On Thursday, in an off the record briefing by the police, it was stated that eight persons allegedly close to the D Company were under surveillance and could anytime be picked up. Those who are under the radar include Meer Alam Baig, Tariq Parveen, Umar Baba, Atif Bhaija, Saleem Fruit, Nadeem Mota and Ahmed Langda.
The recent developments in Mumbai have reinforced the belief of security agencies that despite the fact that Dawood had shifted his base from Mumbai to Dubai in 1987, he continues to provide patronage to members of his gang in the city and elsewhere. His connection with Bollywood and Cricket are well known and therefore, he is involved in the financing of films and high stakes betting.
For those who have been keeping track of Dawood’s nefarious activities, two journalists who have interviewed him multiple times have in a talk show on India News revealed certain startling facets of his personality. Sheela Bhatt and Hussain Zaidi, in a conversation with Manish Awasthi stated that Dawood was very image conscious and thus suffered from a high degree of insecurity. He would meticulously plan his operations and usually used either Chota Shakeel or his brother Anis Ibrahim Kaskar for the execution of his ideas. He was ruthless when it came to dealing with his rivals. And there was a time when top film stars would fly down to Dubai as they would be summoned for the glitzy effect at his lavish parties.
According to Sheela Bhatt, one of the few who have actually met the Don, Dawood had prepared himself more than adequately for an interview in Dubai and had specially ordered clothes from Paris that he donned for the interaction. While getting his photographs clicked, he was not satisfied with the pictures taken while he was behind his desk, so he stood in front of the writing table to stand in full view. He took pains to explain to her that he was not involved in the narcotics trade even though there was enough evidence to pin him to the allegation. On one occasion, she wrote down all his answers since he was paranoid about talking on tape. Yet on landing back in Mumbai from Dubai, she discovered to her horror, her diary had been whisked away by someone.
Hussain revealed that Dawood was the first underworld don who used the Maharashtra police to settle scores. He would tip off the police regarding the movements of his rival gangs and this way many of his adversaries would get eliminated in an encounter without the blame falling on him. These tactics were deployed after the brutal murder of his brother Sabir near a petrol station in Prabhadevi, Bhatt added. Dawood had initially approached Sheela Bhatt to broker a deal with the Indian authorities, but after her refusal contacted a leading criminal lawyer. The lawyer put forth his conditions of surrender to a few top Maharashtra politicians, who turned down the offer. These gentlemen were not interested that he should come back to India at all.
According to knowledgeable sources in the Mumbai police, in the over 10,000-page charge sheet on the 1993 Mumbai carnage, Dawood’s name appears merely three or four times. The police obviously do not have sufficient evidence on him. Yet, on orders from “above”, every effort was made to discourage him from falling in line with the law. Sources said that Dawood was greatly influenced by Dubai based industrialist and businessman Latif Galadari, who had studied in Pakistan. The Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan used this proximity to woo the gangster and subsequently provided him protection and a new identity with a Pakistani passport. Sources in Indian intelligence agencies stated that soon after the Mumbai blasts, Dawood had travelled on a Pakistani passport to the United States and stayed for a brief period at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in California.
Many prominent cine stars were close to him and he is believed to have fathered a child born to a leading heroine, who was introduced to films by one of the country’s best known producer directors. There are also tales about another heroine, who was forced to abandon her boyfriend to spend time with Dawood’s brother Anis who had taken a fancy for her. These are a part of CBI records, where a special cell headed by former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar had thoroughly probed the “D” Company. The present National Security Adviser (NSA), Ajit Doval, who has planned and executed many secret operations, is keen to get Dawood back to the country so as to face trial in the cases registered against him. The success of his efforts largely depends on whether he is able to outwit the vested interests in India and the ISI in Pakistan. Between us.