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Mystery of fingerprints

Dec. 12: Mumbai police have remembered that they have the fingerprints of Anees Ibrahim but cannot place where exactly they are kept.

A senior inspector of Mumbai police said the fingerprints of Anees — gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s brother now in custody in Dubai — had been taken by the VP Road police “sometime in the mid-eighties” after he was booked in an extortion case.

The claim comes a day after India braced for a long-haul chase to bring back the Bombay blasts accused and raises questions on why the police team that went to Dubai last week was not told about the vital record that could have expedited the handover of Anees.

Authorities in Dubai had sought Anees’ fingerprints from the Indian officers, only to be told that Mumbai police do not have it.

Dubai Interpol had sent a message to its Delhi wing yesterday, advising India to formally apply for the don’s extradition instead of the less time-consuming deportation.

After Anees was picked up in Dubai, Mumbai police had said his fingerprints were not available as he had been arrested “only once” in the eighties. They had also conceded that they might have slipped up by not recording his fingerprints.

Today, the police claimed that Anees had been arrested “several times” in the eighties before he finally fled the country.

Sources said Anees’ fingerprints had been taken and sent to the Fingerprint Bureau after he was once arrested by Nagpada police from a hideout in Musafirkhana on Crawford Street. The bureau usually keeps a record of all samples sent to it.

The inspector added that a copy of Anees’ fingerprints had been attached to a chargesheet filed against him when it was submitted in the lower courts. “It is not possible that the fingerprints don’t exist,” he said.

The sources said Anees was caught in January 1982, too, on charges of killing a pavement dweller accidentally during a shootout with rival gangsters. He had fled the spot soon after, but was later arrested and held in the Nagpada lockup for three days.

Salem extradition

India will formally request Portugal to extradite another blast accused, Abu Salem, before his 90-day judicial remand expires next Monday. A senior CBI officer said the papers were almost ready and would be sent to Lisbon any time.

They had been held up because the home ministry had to compile criminal cases registered against Salem in other states.

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