iconimg Wednesday, August 05, 2015

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
London, UK, August 15, 2013
Muhammad Iqbal Memon, better known as Iqbal Mirchi, the right hand man of Dawood Ibrahim wanted for the 1993 Mumbai blasts, died in UK on Wednesday. One of the world's top drug barons, he had lately shifted his attention to betting in cricket. Mirchi’s lawyer Rizwan Merchant said he died of a heart attack at his home in Hornchurch, a town in Essex. His death is expected to hit Dawood’s cash flow hard, but the police feel it would have little effect on the gangland equations in Mumbai.

“Mirchi’s death is a blow to the D gang’s international drug syndicate,” said a crime branch officer. “Moreover, he was also handling Dawood’s investments in London and the middle-east.”

Mirchi, who was born and raised in Mumbai and fled the country in 1990s, got his nickname from his family’s chilli powder business.

After the Mumbai blasts, a Red Corner Notice was issued against him. In April 1995, Scotland Yard officers arrested him on drugs and terrorism charges. But they could not find any evidence linking him with the blasts and India’s extradition request was turned down.

In October 2011, when Mirchi was arrested again for threatening to kill a man, the CBI tried to revive the extradition request, but did not succeed.

Now Dawood’s drug syndicate will find it difficult to get buyers, said sources in the underworld. “It is easy to procure drugs but difficult to find buyers.

Mirchi had a loyal network of buyers in Africa, eastern Europe, Latin America and North America. It would be difficult to replace him,” a source said.