At least 50 Indian gangsters, part of international mafia don Dawood Ibrahim's network, frequently visit Bangladesh and enjoy local political patronage, media reports in Dhaka said on Saturday.
"We have found a four-page list of 50 Indian gangsters, along with their local addresses, who often visit Bangladesh and have the blessings of some influential politicians," a senior Detective Branch official told the New Age newspaper.
The list of gangsters was found during a raid on the rented house of Zahid Sheikh alias Muzahid, said to be an Indian national, in Dhaka.
"After seeing the addresses in the list we conducted raids in different parts of the city and its outskirts on Friday," said the official.
"Two of the 50 Indian gangsters have been staying in Khulna for a long time," he added.
The Indian gangsters have helped Ibrahim employ 20 Bangladeshi women agents whose job is "to find and persuade people into the underworld gang", The Daily Star newspaper quoted a Detective Branch official as saying.
Chhota Shakeel, Dawood's second-in-command who operates from Pakistan and Dubai like his boss, has been sending large sums of money to finance the local network.
The Bangladesh authorities have come up with much information about Dawood's network and are probing the local connections since the arrest last week of Abdul Rauf Daud Merchant, who fled India after being convicted of the murder of Bollywood music baron Gulshan Kumar in 1997.
Merchant had been hiding in a village near Brahmanbaria in eastern Bangladesh for the past several weeks, shortly before he was to fly out to Dubai on a fake Bangladesh passport that he acquired during his stay in Dhaka.
Police say Merchant had also acquired a nationality certificate with the help of Brahmanbaria civic chief and another municipal councillor. They are now being questioned.
The documents with Merchant and his mobile phone memory have revealed the names of Indian operatives and their local agents, including women, said the New Age.
Merchant, who jumped furlough - two week home leave available to a convict under Indian law - claimed he was in Bangladesh in hiding.
The Bangladesh authorities are, however, investigating if he was there on a "mission".
His interrogation has revealed the activities of the Dawood Ibrahim network that the Indian government says is spread across South Asia and engaged in illegal economic activities like smuggling and drug running.