Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim had chased former IPL chief Lalit Modi for extortion money and sent hitmen to kill him in Thailand during a holiday some years ago after he refused to pay, Mumbai police and intelligence officers said on Thursday.
Modi, who is wanted on corruption charges in India, left for Britain in May 2010 and has refused to face justice at home on the grounds of a threat to his life and his immediate family. He reiterated the security concerns after controversy broke over foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s help in getting UK travel documents when his passport was revoked.
Mumbai's joint commissioner of police (law and order) Deven Bharti told HT the crime branch had learnt around 2008-2009 that Dawood’s top aide, Chhota Shakeel, had threatened to kill Modi, who was then the Indian Premier League boss.
A senior central intelligence source agreed with Bharti, saying Dawood had sent a team of killers to Thailand to target Modi and his family, but they failed.
“Dawood had demanded a hefty amount from Modi. When he failed to get it, Chhota Shakeel deployed spotters to conduct a recce of Modi’s official and residential premises… They gathered details on his movements … what cars he used,” the intelligence source said.
Bharti said the police were aware of Shakeel’s threats to Modi but not sure how much money Dawood wanted him to pay.
A Dawood sharpshooter had revealed that the gang’s plan to kill Modi, who was under Mumbai Police protection for a few months, another police officer said.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, a well-known cricket administrator himself, had recently said Modi had faced threats in India.