The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Delhi nurses Dubai hope

New Delhi, Feb. 5: With Dubai showing its keenness to get rid of the safe-haven tag and emerge as a modern city for tourists, India hopes that soon it will be able to lay hands on criminals it wants, particularly those with terrorist links.

Though the exact number is not being specified, sources in the United Arab Emirates said: “We should at least get four to five persons. And some of them are indeed big names.”

Asked what the chances are of getting some of the criminals, a source said: “All I can say at this point is that it will not be like the Anees Ibrahim case.” Anees, brother of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and a co-accused in the Bombay blasts case, was apprehended by Dubai police, but later allowed to leave for Karachi.

Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani also expressed hope that the Emirates would hand over the criminals India wants. Speaking to reporters today after returning from his Southeast Asia tour, he said the government in the UAE had “co-operated” with the Indian government, except for one instance. “In one case, we did not get the person we wanted,” he said, probably referring to the fiasco over deporting Anees.

But India had been handed over the mastermind behind the attack on the American Center last year and the duo wanted for the Ghatkopar blasts in Mumbai the same year, he added.

What has raised India’s hopes now is that this time it is not Dubai police that is involved. The close links of sections in the police with Dawood and other underworld figures led the authorities to take action against some guilty officials.

Sources said the case is being handled by a special agency directly under Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed. As Indian officials in the Emirates engage in backroom negotiations with key persons, indications suggest that modalities for handing over some of those who figure on India’s list are being worked out.

Indian officials are trying to drive home the point that Dubai has more to gain by its engagement with Delhi as most shoppers in the city will not only be from India, the country can also be an attractive destination for investment from the Emirates.

The sources, however, cautioned that pulls and tugs from the rival camp, namely Pakistan, to thwart India’s efforts cannot be ruled out. “We have a silent, but a very effective rival working against India,” they said.

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