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Fingerprint hole in Anees mission
- Mumbai team fails to meet Dubai term

Dubai, Dec. 10: Two Indian police officers who arrived here to build the case for Anees Ibrahim’s handover have made a startling revelation that Mumbai police do not have the fugitive’s fingerprints.

Anees, brother of Dawood Ibrahim and wanted for his alleged role in the Bombay blasts, was detained by authorities in Dubai last week. The two police officers from Mumbai reached Dubai as part of India’s efforts to get Anees deported.

The officers, who met representatives of Dubai police, were told that they must furnish conclusive proof that Anees is an Indian. What Dubai was looking for were fingerprints from Mumbai, which could be compared with that of the detained suspect.

The officers then revealed that Mumbai police do not have the single-most important record that could have made deportation easier. Without fingerprints, it will be difficult to prove that the suspect is Anees and an Indian — the instrumental factor in deciding whether he should be deported to India.

Reports suggest A.K. Gupta, the CBI deputy director who was sent to Dubai with papers that the Indians thought would help their case, could not even get an appointment with anyone in position in the Emirate police.

It appears that Dubai police are resenting the pressure being brought to bear on them by India and, possibly, also the US to hand Anees over to India. Anees’ lawyer has claimed that his client would be released in a few days.

But indications in the Emirate suggest the authorities may not be opposed to handing Anees over to a third country, in which case it would probably be the US.

America is still sympathetic to India’s concerns. The Indians have told the Americans that Dawood and his gang were being used by al Qaida in exchange for money.

One claim that has struck a chord among the Americans is the disclosure that Dawood has interests in Kenya, where 16 people were killed last month in a blast inside an Israeli-owned hotel. An abortive attempt was also made to shoot down an Israeli plane there.

Al Qaida subsequently claimed responsibility for the twin strikes. Two Dawood hands were among the suspects rounded up initially in Kenya. The Indians have also told the US that recent extortion calls were traced to numbers in Kenya and South Africa.

Anees was arrested last week — there is some dispute about whether it was on December 3 or 5 — after he arrived from Pakistan, allegedly with a fake passport.

Yesterday, there were suggestions that he had been caught at the instance of the Americans who are monitoring arrivals and departures at Dubai. They alerted the Dubai authorities to Anees’ landing and persuaded them to arrest him.

Dubai police officials quoted in Gulf-based newspapers said he was picked up on suspicion of involvement in criminal offences in the Emirate. But the CBI said in Delhi that the UAE authorities caught him on the basis of an Interpol red-corner notice issued against him in August 1993 on charges of being a prime conspirator in the blasts.

The director of Dubai’s criminal investigations department, Lt Col Khalil Ibrahim, told Khaleej Times, an English newspaper based there, that Anees was arrested as he was “suspected to be involved in a number of criminal cases”.

He had been arrested once before in 1995 on charges of fraud, but was granted bail on condition he would not leave the UAE and would pay the businessman he had cheated.

Our Delhi bureau adds: The Indian government is taking extra care not to utter something that may jeopardise Anees’ handover. The CBI has been very guarded on developments in the case. The caution was evident from the fact that the government today dropped plans of making a statement on the arrest in Parliament.

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