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Dangerous Ploy

 

Satya Pal Singh. Editorial.V.VII.XV

 

DAWOOD AND HOWLING


WOLVES...

 

 

 

Satya Pal Singh-fnbworld By Satya Pal Singh


 

Dawood Ibrahim: India's most
wanted



One doesn't have to be a sleuth or God's messenger to know where India's most wanted fugitive Dawood Ibrahim is. Our overly sensitized politicos are feverishly engaged in wordy duels on an issue that in normal course should not let them howl in partisan tones pointing to thick layers of inner divisiveness and an indecisive security regime. Who other than Islamabad will provide 'Iron-Curtain' security to Dawood and his trigger-happy aides who together are known to be doing billion dollar worth of nasty 'business' from a place or places in Pakistan where dozens of security men and other maverick operators remain at his back and call. 


The present ruckus follows former CBI DIG Neeraj Kumar 's explosive disclosure three days ago that Dawood offered to surrender 15 months after the 1993 Mumbai blasts in which he was accused, but CBI turned down the offer. He claimed that the prime accused contacted him thrice on the issue of surrender. A Delhi newspaper quoted Kumar as saying :  “I spoke to a jittery Dawood three times in June 1994… He seemed to be toying with the idea of surrendering but had one worry--his rival gangs could finish him off if he returned to India. I told him his safety would be the responsibility of the CBI.”  


But soon after, Kumar added, his bosses asked him to stop phone calls to the wanted fugitive. Kumar did not say whether then PM Narasimha Rao himself wanted the telephonic contacts stalled, but that looked clearly implied in his observation, for no Home Minister or CBI Director would act on his own in such sensitive matters. Kumar subsequently ate his words and denied such contacts with the don, possibly under political pressure.

 

Ex-PM of India Narasimha Rao

 

Even senior advocate Ram Jethmalani made a similar claim earlier, saying that Dawood called him offering to surrender on the condition that police would not torture him. But the govt did not agree and the fugitive was left free to acquire sturdy wings in the vast expanse of underwold. Was then Rao responsible for this fiasco ? Evidence may be sketchy at the moment, but the sequence of events suggests so.


Now, all accounts irrefutably verify that Dawood is freely living in Pakistan under ISI protection after shifting his Syndicate from UAE. Presently, he may be traced to a safer place on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border ensconced in tight ISI security. This is what finally govt of India also verifies. The Pak intelligence agency is, however, worried that the recent Indo-US pact on fighting terrorism jointly may be a risky factor for the don's security, now that he is mingling freely with the Pakistani people. 


The don’s earlier ‘hideout’ in Karachi was said to be surrounded by diplomatic missions of four countries. Armed guards kept strict vigil on Dawood’s new hideout. No person was allowed to enter the premises until any senior ISI official or the don himself cleared the entry. Even earlier, he had three locations in Karachi and Islamabad where he lived on rotation basis It is said he was never seen alone and was usually accompanied by heavily armed commandos. Along with ISI officers and top Karachi industrialists, the don reportedly used this place to do arms and real estate business. It’s also believed that Dawood has been in regular touch with militant leaders.


This is common knowledge that Dawood's daughter Mahrukh was married to Junaid Miandad, the son of Pakistani cricketer Javed Miandad. Later, his another daughter Mehreen got married to a  Pakistani-American. And who were the guests ? The media had widely reported on both occasions that top brass of govt, Pak Army, ISI and known business honchos attended these functions. Even not-so-informed a commoner would easily get the cue that if the don could organize lavish public weddings in an open environment, it's clear he not only had his base in Pakistan, but also joyously enjoyed full patronage of Islamabad. It is, however, amusing to note former IB Director Rajendra Kumar saying Dawood is "hiding" in Pakistan. Is the don really hiding his identity even as he attends open functions in various cities of this enemy state ?


However, Dawood now feels shaky even in the Middle East region because his movements remain sharply on the radars of several nations. Knowledgeable circles believe that Dawood hardly remains confined to Pakistan ; he goes abroad too, but very rarely and returns quickly. What is strange, however, is that his moves are so secret that they are seldom tracked with precision. Many of his close aides are also sighted in Mumbai now and then, but no one seems to know when they come, do their secret 'business' neatly and leave. They are alleged to be meeting some of our celebrities too, but only God knows, for what. It is strange, as well as shocking though, that our intelligence network is left looking askance every time these regulars check in.  


Who has forgotten that Delhi Police had named Dawood and his aide Chhota Shakeel as co-accused in the IPL spot-fixing case and invoked MCOCA provisions against them and their syndicate ? The police had informed a trial court that this syndicate controlled gambling in India through hawala channels and also fixed the rates of gambling. Sleuths reportedly found direct links between the arrested bookies and the Mumbai underworld that operates under Dawood's instructions. He is currently on the wanted list of Interpol for cheating, criminal conspiracy and organized crime syndicate.


So, when MoS, Home, H P Chaudhary, told Parliament, in reply to a question, that Dawood had not been located so far and that the process for his extradition would be initiated once the subject was located, mounts started falling and serious controversy built around the hyper inquisitive political and bureaucratic circles. Hours later, another MoS, Kiren Rijiju, informed , "Dawood is in Pakistan. Government's stand is consistent." 


One may ask here when classified information is available on the subject and the intelligence agencies are well aware of the fugitive's presence in Pakistan, how the hell confusion seeps through the corridors of power and stuns the biggies when they have long maintained that Dawood is in Pakistan, enjoying govt  patronage, luxuriously placed under the local security establishment. Several dossiers have been handed over to Islamabad on the prime accused on 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, indicating his locations in Pakistan.


Islamabad, however, persistently feigns ignorance and notoriously denies any criminal cover-up that remains ever fresh in the knowledge of even 'friendly' American guys. If they don't act, it's a different matter. The US had ever claimed that Dawood had close links with al-Qaeda and declared him a  "global terrorist". Not only that, Washington even pursued the matter with the UN for freezing the fugitive’s assets around the world and mounting attacks to check his "nefarious operations." The Bush administration even imposed sanctions on Dawood and his associates.


Let there be no compartment-building on such highly sensitive matters that have the potential of damaging our national interests. It is said the goof-up occurred at the Home Secretary's level, but that explains nothing. How can Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh leave such loaded stuff to be handled by junior functionaries ? There is need for greater coordination within ministries, departments and the security agencies. People at the top must know that wrong, lopsided information going across the nations piles up deep embarrassment on the countrymen. And Pakistan merrily gets a breather to rejoice such goof-ups!

 

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