New Delhi, Feb. 19: In a blow to D-Company, the United Arab Emirates today deported most-wanted don Dawood Ibrahim’s brother and a close associate to India.
An Air-India plane carrying the duo landed in Mumbai shortly after 11pm. Dawood’s brother Iqbal Hassan Sheikh is an accused in six criminal cases being investigated by Mumbai police and Ejaz Pathan is wanted for his alleged role in the 1993 Bombay blasts, believed to have been masterminded by the don.
A close associate of Dawood, Pathan was looking after the D-Company’s fake currency and narcotics business. He was working with Aftab Batki, another underworld operative based in Dubai. The CBI had, through Interpol, issued a red corner notice against Pathan a couple of years after the blasts.
Alleged to be one of the prime conspirators, Pathan is believed to have supplied explosives for the blasts as well as pumped arms for the riots that followed.
The deportation — which comes after another Dawood brother, Anees Ibrahim, was allowed to go scot free by Dubai — suggests that negotiations with the United Arab Emirates government are paying off.
Pathan and Iqbal have been in and out of Dubai ever since the police there launched a crackdown on criminals after the murder of Sharad Shetty, another Dawood associate. Iqbal had been living with his wife in Al Garhood, opposite Dubai airport. He owns an electronics shop in Dubai — Al Barka Electronics. Unlike Dawood’s four other brothers, Iqbal continues to hold an Indian passport that was issued in Mumbai on October 31, 1986, and renewed twice.
Besides Anees, who was arrested by Dubai authorities a couple of months ago but freed, Noorul Haque alias Noora, Mustaqim and Humayum are Dawood’s other brothers. The don has four sisters — Hasina, who lives in Mumbai, and Saitoon, Farzana and Mumtaz, who are Dubai residents.
Sources said Iqbal plays an important role in the D-Company’s business and has been deliberately kept out of the illegal activities, most of which are handled by Anees.
Iqbal manages many front companies, financial firms, showrooms and bars. It is learnt that he was in the process of investing in a big way somewhere in Europe for which $50 million was being sought in loans from foreign banks.
Government sources said the UAE government had, in principle, agreed to hand over some fugitives when external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha met the internal security minister during a visit.
At that meeting, the UAE authorities had demanded deportation of some persons wanted in their country who are hiding in India.
Delhi asked for a list of the wanted persons and a brief on their involvement in crimes to be able to deport them, government sources said.
A Dubai-based newspaper today quoted a senior police official as saying the UAE government would hand over the criminals only when India reciprocates.
“Extradition works two ways. Only when we receive people wanted by our government, can we track down and hand over criminals wanted by the other part,” Dubai police commander-in-chief Major General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim told The Khaleej Times.
“If you see files at the moment, we have 68 cases of extradition pending with the Indian government. These 68 people are wanted by the UAE police for murder, theft and serious financial crimes. However, due to lack of co-operation by the authorities there, these culprits are not being traced nor brought to book,” Tamim said.
“In contrast, there are only four people that the Indian government wants us to hand over. The equation is far from balanced. We need more cooperation on that front. Clearly we cannot be tracking down criminals for them, when they are shielding ours,” he added.