M A I N   N E W S

Mumbai Attacks
Chotta Shakeel’s link being probed
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
The presence of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s most trusted aide, Chotta Shakeel in Bangladesh, while terrorists were conducting attacks in Mumbai has found the attention of investigating agencies.

The Indian intelligence agencies are tracings Shakeel’s movement to find out as to what kind of logistic support he was providing to the Mumbai attackers.

Shakeel, normally does not visit the country on India’s eastern side. The police has found two SIM cards that were purchased from Kolkata and were used by the Mumbai attackers that has added to the suspicion.

The Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), a known terrorist organisation of Bangladesh, has its roots in Karachi and also has several known modules in Kolkata.

Indian intelligence agencies say Chhota Shakeel, like his boss, Dawood, is an ISI agent. Both are based in Karachi, a safe haven provided to them following the Mumbai blasts in 1993.

Sources said since the link of Dawood has emerged, the operation would not be possible without Chotta Shakeel being in the loop. Russian agencies had yesterday said the underworld don was “directly linked”.

The Indian agencies had intercepts about Shakeel’s movement in Bangladesh and further movement to a country in Europe. Shakeel has not returned to Pakistan as yet, a source added. The agencies are keeping a watch on him and also on Dawood for the next few days.

Dawood’s birthday is on December 26 and a huge bash is expected where Shakeel is normally present. Senior officials of the ISI and his business partners in India and abroad are among those who are expected to be present.

Dawood’s empire is largely controlled by Shakeel and this includes drug smuggling, pumping fake currency into India, gun running and extortion across several nations.

Russia has said that its intelligence inputs prove that terrorists used Dawood’s vast drug network to carry out the multiple attacks.

Russian officials also believe that Dawood’s drug money was used to fund the attacks. Already the link to drug money from Afghanistan was being probed following a warning of the United Nations office of drugs and crime. The latest report says that the Taliban and other warlords made about half a billion dollars from Afghanistan’s opium trade this year. The money was used to finance insurgent attacks. There is little doubt that Al-Qaida and other anti-government elements profit from the drug trade, says the UN report.

Sources said the racket of pumping in fake currency was bringing in huge profits and Dawood, on behalf of the Pakistan’s ISI, controlled this.

There are four known routes to bring in this fake currency into India. One through the sea route to Maharashtra and land borders Indian shares with Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Chotta Shakeel’ meddling is to such an extent that he is known to have threatened bidders who bid for Dawood’s properties which had been confiscated by the Income Tax Department and put to auction.



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