Mumbai, Oct. 17: The end could well be in sight for Dawood Ibrahim.
With the US declaring one of India’s “most wanted” an international terrorist, hope floats at the police headquarters in Mumbai, where Dawood executed his bloodiest war against India in the form of the 1993 serial blasts.
Police now see the possibility of pinning the man responsible for the birth of India’s, and one of Asia’s, largest and most vicious crime syndicates.
A senior Mumbai police officer said the American declaration has “fitted the don with a device that will set off intelligence radars across the world”.
“It could be a matter of time before he (Dawood) is arrested and brought to Mumbai,” joint commissioner of police Satyapal Singh said, adding that the liquidation of the D-gang would then be completed swiftly.
“It is a very big development for Mumbai police and for India. Now we have to focus on those of his gang members still operating from Mumbai,” he said.
According to police sources, hardly two dozen of Dawood’s key men are out of jail or alive. There is a small, nagging worry though. “Over time, with the police gunning for Dawood’s henchmen, the gang nurtured and developed women members,’’ Singh said. “It is the women we must go after now.”
But the countdown to Dawood’s destruction was under way even before the US initiative.
Many of his henchmen were gunned down, properties sealed and top aides deported from their safe havens in Dubai.
On a Mumbai police plea, a special court on May 19 this year attached the controversial Sara and Sahara shopping centres allegedly belonging to the don. The shopping complexes in the city’s Crawford Market are believed to be worth almost Rs 10 crore. Police sources, however, believe the case is only a tip of the iceberg and the acquisition a part of a conspiracy to get hold of prime properties in Mumbai and channel the dirt money into real estate.
This was followed by the identification of 13 other Dawood properties in the city — all in plush south Mumbai areas.
The United Arab Emirates also got into the act and stepped up the deportation process since February this year by sending to India over a dozen members of the D-gang.
Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar was deported from Dubai and booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
This was followed by the deportation of the don’s top aides Mustafa Dossa and Ejaz Pathan
A senior police officer believes the latest development is part of a well-planned offensive that began with Pakistan — for the first time in a decade — declaring recently that the don has business interests in Karachi and may even be there.
However, Mumbai police chief R.S. Sharma played down the American declaration. “For us, Dawood will continue to be the most-wanted terrorist irrespective of whether any government website announces him as a terrorist or not,’’ Sharma said, spelling out his department’s primary claim to the don. “If someone needs Dawood (the) most, it is us.”