The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cash to malls, Dawood feels the heat

Mumbai, June 3: Police today claimed to have dealt a blow to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s financial activities by busting a fake currency racket in the city.

The police said the racket, operated at the behest of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, was busted after several members of Dawood’s gang were arrested for distributing fake currency in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.

This comes in the wake of the earlier action against Dawood’s shopping complexes — the Sara and Sahara shopping centres opposite south Mumbai’s Crawford Market — which the police said was a front to pump in illegal money into the don’s real estate business.

On a plea from the police, a local court had ordered the attachment of the two “front” properties.

Maintaining that Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar, who was earlier deported from Dubai, was involved in the Karachi-based don’s real estate deals in Mumbai, city police chief R.S. Sharma said 13 other properties in and around south Mumbai have been identified as belonging to the D-Company. “Dawood had invested money (in the properties) to channelise the flow of black money,” Sharma said.

The police chief explained that with the extortion business not doing well any more, Dawood had lately been focusing on expanding his interests in real estate.

The police are now going all out against Dawood’s alleged property deals.

Soon after the two shopping complexes at Crawford Market were attached, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had approached the court seeking orders for demolition of the structures. The BMC claimed that the complexes were built on land belonging to the public works department and that more than 60 per cent of the construction was illegal.

The income-tax department also joined the action, seeking possession of the properties to recover dues against Dawood that total about Rs 43 crore. The court is yet to pass an order on the petitions by the BMC and the income-tax department.

Other properties identified as Dawood’s are a six-storeyed building in south Mumbai that is under construction and another one at Nagpada.

A building called Chandi, at Mahim, and another at Goregaon also allegedly belong to the don. Police sources said the D-Company gangs, led by Kaskar here, had been negotiating the purchase of other properties and that payments had already been made towards acquiring a municipal school building at Mahim.

Yesterday, the police had filed a chargesheet against Kaskar for indulging in land grabbing.

Two others arrested — Abdul Rehman Abdul Gafoor Shaikh and Abdul Sattar — have been named in the chargesheet as Dawood’s accomplices in the land-grabbing racket. Police sources said more arrests are due.

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