HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Dawood Ibrahim still in Pakistan, Indian sources say

Following yesterday's terrorist attacks on Mumbai, the Indian intelligence is leading a broader investigation about Dawood Ibrahim known as India's best-known underworld figure and Mumbai blasts mastermind. Dawood Ibrahim has been placed in the same category as top Al-Qaida operatives with Interpol. Dawood Ibrahim has been indicted with financially supporting Islamic terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (Lashkar-e-Toiba). He's the most famous example of how to finance terrorism with crime-related activities.

"We have given complete proof about his entire network in Pakistan to Interpol and Interpol believes us," CBI chief Vijay Shanker had told reporters after his 30-minute meeting with home minister Shivraj Patil on July 7, 2006.

(Wikipedia); Dawood Ibrahim (also known as Dawood Ebrahim and Sheikh Dawood Hassan) was born in India and is believed to be currently residing in the city of Islamabad, Pakistan, allegedly, under the patronage of that country's Inter-Services Intelligence. Dawood's early career developed in the Persian Gulf states and in the bylanes of Nagpada and Dongri in Mumbai, India. He is accused of heading a vast, sprawling illegal empire; illegally acquiring money and political clout. His name has become a byword in political, business and law enforcement circles in the manner of Al Capone and Osama Bin Laden. After the Bombay Blasts in 1993, which Dawood had organized and financed, he became India's most wanted man. He is said to have moved from the UAE to Pakistan during the ensuing controversy. In 2003, the United States Government declared Dawood Ibrahim a Global Terrorist and pursued the matter before the United Nations in an attempt to freeze his assets around the world and crack down on his operations after significant diplomatic lobbying by the government of India.

Past Article on Dawood Ibrahim from JID:

US intelligence and security services have stepped up their hunt for one of the world's most wanted fugitives, Indian Dawood Ibrahim, who was designated a "global terrorist" by the US Treasury Department on 16 October 2003 for alleged links to Al-Qaeda and following allegations that he had financed terrorist groups.

Dawood, (also known as Sheikh Dawood Hassan) is little known in the West, but US and Indian authorities consider him to be one of the most dangerous terrorist suspects. New Delhi is seeking Dawood in connection with the multiple bombing of Mumbai, India's financial hub, on 12 March 1993. This attack left 257 victims dead and more than 700 wounded.

The carnage was apparently intended as retaliation for attacks by majority Hindus in religious riots in which some 800 Muslims perished. US and Indian authorities allege that Dawood - an Indian Muslim - controls a criminal empire that stretches from Asia to the Middle East and Africa. He also stands accused of being implicated in large-scale narcotics smuggling to Western Europe, as well as permitting Al-Qaeda and its allies to use his clandestine network to move operatives and funds around the globe.

Pressure on Dawood has been mounting for some time, particularly following the 11 September 2001 attacks against the US. The US Treasury notification states that Dawood was being given refuge in Karachi under the protection of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) service. The US authorities even listed his supposed address in Karachi and the numbers of the Pakistani passports he allegedly carries.

The Indian authorities have for years accused Pakistan of sheltering Dawood. However, Islamabad has repeatedly denied any connection with him and has rejected New Delhi's demand that he be extradited.

Time running out?

However, Dawood's position may have been weakened by the new momentum for peace between India and Pakistan. Given Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's reluctance to make any decisive, all-out move against Pakistan's well-entrenched militants, the prospect of Dawood being apprehended and handed over remains remote at present. Nevertheless, with the US FBI and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) now showing interest over Dawood's alleged financial ties to terror groups such as the Kashmir-based Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Jesh-e Mohammedi - as well as US authorities' claims concerning his involvement in the global heroin trade - the pressure for action is clearly escalating.

Lashkar-e-Tayyiba is one of the most feared militant Kashmiri groups. It has been blamed for several attacks in India, including the 31 October triple bombing in New Delhi during preparations for a major Hindu holiday, Diwali, in which 60 people were killed and more than 200 wounded, and the 13 December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament that almost triggered a fourth war with Pakistan. Until a couple of years ago, Lashkar had confined itself to the conflict in Kashmir, but it has more recently been spreading its tentacles regionally as the influence of Islamic militant groups has expanded across Asia, the Middle East and Europe. In May 2005, the UN joined the hunt by placing Dawood on its list of individuals linked to Al-Qaeda drawn up under Security Council Resolution 1267. This demands that all member states freeze the assets of anyone named on the list and take action to prevent them moving into or through their territories.

Dawood began his career in crime as a petty thief but by the 1980s had eliminated all his rivals in Mumbai and established his organisation, known as 'D Company', as the pre-eminent criminal syndicate. He fled India following the 1993 bombings and holed up in Dubai, the financial hub of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). However, with Indian intelligence service agents on his trail, things eventually became too dangerous for him and he fled to Pakistan, where he made Karachi the centre of his alleged crime network. However, since he left Dubai many of his associates have been rounded up.

In less than two years, the UAE has deported or extradited as many as 14 alleged 'D Company' members to India.

Dawood's fading power?

Meanwhile, several of Dawood's top lieutenants in Mumbai have been killed by his main rival, Chhota Rajan, a former associate and a Hindu. According to Indian officials, Dawood's power in India is fading rapidly. In addition, several of his key allies in Karachi have broken away, and it is questionable just how much of a liability he may become to Pakistan.

One of the biggest blows he has suffered was the arrest of his close associate Abu Salem (alias Abdul Saleem Ansari) in Portugal on 20 September 2002 on a charge of carrying false passports. The US authorities were involved in that operation, while Indian government sources suggest that the Portuguese arrested Abu Salem following a tip-off from the FBI.

In December 2002, US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Christine Rocca, publicly acknowledged: "The US and India have worked together closely in a prominent counterterrorism case." This was apparently the arrest of Abu Salem. Following protracted diplomatic and legal wrangles, Abu Salem was extradited to Mumbai on 11 November 2005. He faces around 60 charges, including several of murder, as well as his alleged involvement in the 1993 bombings.

For Indian intelligence, Abu Salem represents a major prize and they have hopes that he may lead them closer to Dawood. In the end, however, it is more likely that Washington's pressure on Musharraf will result in the downfall of India's most wanted suspect. Pakistani forces have captured or killed a dozen senior Al-Qaeda operatives over the last three years, so it is possible that Dawood's days are numbered.
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org