Dubai, Jan. 4: Severely rapped by the Centre for its shoddy handling of evidence in the Anees Ibrahim case, authorities in Mumbai have shown that if there is a will, there is a way.
Fingerprints of the notorious fugitive brother of Mumbai underworld don Dawood Ibrahim have surfaced, albeit a case of locking the stables after the horses had bolted.
These have since been handed over to the police in Dubai, who have filed the evidence along with the Anees “case digest”, handed over last month by the CBI.
According to sources here, the fingerprints were obtained after a back-breaking search of all data relating to cases in which Anees was involved all over Maharashtra.
The fingerprints of Anees were originally taken after he was arrested in the jurisdiction of Mumbai’s VP Road police station.
These were ‘missing’ at the time of his arrest in Dubai and were presumed to have been spirited out by the Dawood gang, which has extensive channels through the Mumbai police network.
The fingerprints recovered during the subsequent search for evidence relating to Anees came from Colaba police station, it is learnt here.
The Central government and Indian diplomats in the UAE had been severely embarrassed by their inability to produce the fugitive’s fingerprints in Dubai at a time when his extradition to India appeared to be a possibility.
Last year, too, when underworld operative Abu Salem was arrested in the UAE, India could not submit his fingerprints to the local authorities. Salem’s fingerprints had been spirited away by his men in Mumbai police.
Dubai’s relatively new chief of CID, Major General Sharafuddin, a suave, Western-trained officer who monitored the Anees case last month from a holiday resort in Switzerland, is understood to have been very scathing in his interactions with the Indians about the lapse.
Mumbai police are understood to have initially reacted to the Centre’s rap on its knuckles by blaming South Block for its inability to influence Dubai.
But authorities in New Delhi minced no words in expressing their feelings to Maharashtra about the fingerprints mess-up.
The momentum created by the subsequent discovery of the fingerprints was a key factor which prompted Indian authorities to formally ask the UAE for the extradition of Anees well over a week after the fugitive was deported by Dubai to Karachi.
It also prompted CBI director P.C. Sharma to tell the media as recently as Christmas day that “we have not received any information from the Dubai authorities so far (about his deportation) and we presume that he (Anees) is still in their custody”.
The CBI also has a glimmer of hope that Anees will visit Dubai yet again. It is now known that in addition to two previous instances of his arrest in the Gulf, Anees was in Dubai exactly a year ago.
At that time, he was in transit from Karachi to Doha, but was stopped here and sent back to Karachi. Dubai authorities had then warned Anees not to return to the emirate.
But his wife, who holds an American passport, is a resident of Dubai, and Anees returned here, notwithstanding the warning.
Hence the CBI’s decision to file for extradition with fingerprints et al in the hope that Anees may eventually be brought to justice in India the next time he stumbles into Dubai.