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Long haul for Anees
- Missive on extradition, not deportation

Dec. 11: Chances of India laying its hands on Bombay blasts accused Anees Ibrahim in a hurry appeared to dim today with all indications pointing to the long-drawn process of extradition rather than the less time-consuming deportation.

A message was received by the Interpol in Delhi from its counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, where Anees was arrested last week, advising that India should formally apply to the UAE authorities for extradition.

India seemed to have reconciled itself to fighting a prolonged battle after Dubai police, who have kept Anees in custody, said it was holding him on charges of murdering Indian national Irfan Goga, whose remains were discovered recently in a villa in the Emirate.

“The United Arab Emirates will not hand him over to another country if he is convicted here of a crime we accuse him of committing on the soil of the UAE,” a police official was quoted by the Gulf News as saying.

“If any country has an interest and evidence of his involvement in another crime, it should wait till the end of his trial here,” the official said.

Also a member of the underworld, Goga was murdered four years ago allegedly by Anees for being a party to the killing of Dilshad Beg, a Nepali MP who was said to be close to Dawood Ibrahim, in Kathmandu.

CBI officials said there was no formal or informal communication from Dubai of its reported refusal to hand over Anees before he is locally tried.

Still, it would be a great relief for the CBI if the Dubai authorities put him behind bars for some time without giving him bail for his alleged involvement in the murder.

In the past, he has been arrested in the same case but not tried apparently for lack of evidence.

The CBI will send another team to Dubai and — in the absence of fingerprints of Anees — is building a dossier of evidence of his involvement in the blasts to push for extradition. India and the UAE have an extradition agreement. But for extradition to take place, India will first have to establish before a court in the Emirates that it has a watertight case. In the past, it has failed to do this in the instance of Nadeem, accused in cassette king Gulshan Kumar’s murder.

Although CBI officials were not paying too much importance to the absence of fingerprints, it means the agency does not have in its hand the biggest evidence of Anees being Anees.

Another blast accused, Abu Salem, who was arrested by Portuguese police, could be identified in Lisbon as the CBI could get hold of his fingerprints. Anees was caught once by Mumbai police in the eighties, but his fingerprints were not taken.

The CBI has now requested the Mumbai special court, which will soon come out with a ruling in the blasts case, to provide “certified copies” of the confessions of six of the accused who have named Anees as a conspirator.

Hanif Kadawala, Baba Chauhan, Samir Hingora, Usman Man Khan, Manzoor Ahmed and Mohammed Saeed Issaq alias Salim Kurla have confessed against Anees. But it cannot be ascertained if these statements can or will be seen as categorical evidence against Anees.

Documents like certified copies of the first information report {RC 1(S)/93} filed in the case and the chargesheet against the accused will also go into the dossier.

CBI deputy director A.K. Gupta has been camping in Dubai to have Anees handed over to India and two more officials have flown down to argue New Delhi’s case. Unconfirmed reports say one of them is Shivanandan, CBI joint director for the western region whose reputation as a hunter of the underworld encouraged the makers of Company, the movie on Dawood Ibrahim — Anees’ elder brother and the key accused in the blasts — to create a character modelled on him.

Intelligence sources would, however, only confirm that Shivanandan is “out of town”. A source said that after the arrest of Anees last week, Shivanandan was called to New Delhi.

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