Iqbal Kaskar, alias Arab Saaab, the younger brother of Dawood Ibrahim, was set free by the special MCOCA court on Wednesday.
Kaskar, who was accused of conniving with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials and building a shopping complex on government land meters away from the Mumbai Police Commisionerate, will be released from jail.
Kaskar’s acquittal comes within days of sister Haseena Parkar’s release on bail in an alleged extortion case and is the second setback the Mumbai police has suffered in tightening their grip on Dawood’s family.
Judge MR Bhatkar, in a 300-page judgment, gave a clean chit to Kaskar after disbelieving the only piece of evidence against him — the 56 telephonic conversations recorded by Crime Branch officials.
“They don’t reveal any form of organised crime syndicate and any inclination on behalf of Kaskar to threaten and evict the owners of the Munim compound in which the disputed property, Sara-Sahara shopping complexes have been built,” the court said.
A visibily elated Kaskar later said, “Allah saabka sunta hai, mera bhi dua kabool hogaya.”
Kaksar surrendered before the Mumbai police in 2003 after flying in from Dubai. He has been lodged at the Arthur Road Jail ever since.
Judge Bhatkar also acquitted four other accused — BMC officials Kiran Acharekar, Hashmukh Shah, NR Rajbhar and SM Salvekar — for lack of evidence. The four were stated to have connived with the co-accused and cleared the proposal for the shopping complexes.
Defence lawyers hinted that the four were acquitted because the Anti-Corruption Bureau, which had raided and seized Rs 29,80,000 from Salvekar’s house, had failed to file a chargsheet in the MCOCA court even after former judge AP Bhangale had directed them to do so.
The court also acquitted a small-time builder, Ghulam Nabi Ramzaan Tanwar, who has been admitted to Nanavati Hospital since his arrest, for lack of evidence.
His acquittal came after the court partially accepted the confessional statement of co-accused Tariq Parvin. The court observed that the police had not followed proper procedure while recording Parvin’s confessional statement. The BMC officials also had the same advantage.
However, the court convicted two of Dawood’s front men — Abdul Rehman Abdul Gafoor Shaikh and Abdul Sattar Haji Jiva Radhanpur, alias Sattar Telli — who had floated a company by the name of Global Marketing, threatened the tenants of Munim compound and evicted them.