The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dubai crackdown drives Dawood to business

New Delhi, Feb. 21: India’s most-wanted man, Dawood Ibrahim, is allegedly funnelling money earned through illegal means into genuine businesses, finding it hard to operate from the United Arab Emirates with Dubai authorities cracking the whip.

The underworld don has reportedly been forced to adopt this new tactic following a crackdown on criminals in Dubai, after Aftab Ansari’s deportation to Delhi in February 2001. The emirate has been the hub of their investments since Dawood and his henchmen fled India after the 1993 Bombay blasts.

The D-Company is shifting from smuggling activities to legal businesses, according to a government dossier on Dawood’s business interests.

Dawood seems to have taken a leaf out of the book of his predecessors, Haji Mastan and Yusuf Patel, who allegedly had later become businessmen and used their muscle power to further their business interests.

Dawood has been adopting a two-pronged strategy, reveals the report. One involves his direct investments in Dubai and other countries, manned by his brothers — especially Anees Ibrahim — and associates. Anees was arrested but let off by Dubai a couple of months ago. Investments have reportedly been made in food processing, readymade garment exports, hotels and constructions.

Some of the shops and companies directly owned by D-Company in Dubai are Choice Departmental Store, Kings Video, Moins Readymade Garments, Al Barka Electronics, Reem Yousuf Traders and Shetty Palace. D-Company is said to have offices in London, Lagos, Kenya, France, Nigeria and Switzerland, besides Pakistan and Dubai.

The other prong of the strategy, according to the government dossier, involves the front companies and covert investments by the D-Company in India through their sympathisers, which makes it difficult for government agencies to trace the money to him.

Dawood’s business empire is estimated at Rs 7,000 crore, part of which comes from extortion, contract killings and smuggling, apart from covert investments in real estates and other companies. Government officials say D-Company has made this possible because of its alleged contacts with politicians, bureaucrats, police and businessmen.

The underworld don has been trying to enter the aviation sector and wants to promote a private airline in a neighbouring country. But he has failed.

However, there are reports that he has invested $100,000 in an airline of the same country, which recently hired a Boeing aircraft on wet lease from another Asian nation.

He had allegedly pumped money into East West Airlines through his contacts in a Kerala-based family. The move did not yield many dividends as the airlines’ managing director, Taqiuddin Wahid, was allegedly killed in 1995 at the behest of arch-rival Chhota Rajan.

Dawood is also said to have moved into the multi-crore paan masala business. He is believed to have acquired a 50 per cent stake in a leading gutka company of India and is said to be in the process of launching another brand in Pakistan.

Dawood, allegedly with the help of the ISI, has already made inroads into Nepal’s establishment and business community. Much of it allegedly happened due to the assistance of Mirza Dilshad Beg, a Nepalese MP who was shot dead by Chhota Rajan associates sometime ago.

The D-Company has also struck up a friendship with a Kashmiri Shah family of Nepal, which has relatives in senior positions of the bureaucracy. It is also believed to have interests in two leading hotels in Nepal.

Dawood’s reach is said to extend till Singapore where he has invested in real estate and a shipping company. In Malaysia, the D-Company owns mining rights and allegedly sent silver for smuggling into India through Nepal.

The D-Company is also allegedly deeply involved in the pirated video and audio trade. The pirated cassettes are reportedly smuggled into India through the Nepal border.

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