Dreaded no more: The story of Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar
Iqbal Kaskar, the youngest brother of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, was arrested for extortion on Monday night by encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma.mumbai Updated: Sep 20, 2017 07:50 IST
During the rescue operations after Hussaini building collapsed on Pakmodia street in Mumbai’s Nagpada area last month, Iqbal Kaskar, the most famous resident of the adjacent Dambarwala building, broke his long silence to the media. However, in the backdrop of the massive tragedy that saw 33 people lose their lives, reporters refrained from asking the pudgy-faced younger brother of India’s most wanted fugitive the question they would have loved to: Where is Dawood Ibrahim?
Now Iqbal’s arrest in a late night swoop by former encounter specialist and old crime branch hand Pradeep Sharma in connection with an old extortion case has led to speculation that it is part of an on-going task the government of India is seriously pursuing : squeeze Dawood out of his hiding.
Little was known about Iqbal, the fifth of Dawood’s 11 siblings, before he was deported from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in March 2003. Unlike his brothers Anees and Noora, Iqbal and Mustakin (who is elder to him) never went to Karachi to join Dawood’s global crime syndicate, better known as the D Company, that runs from a number of plush bungalows in the posh Clifton area in the commercial capital of Pakistan.
In fact, crime branch veterans tracking Dawood would talk of how Iqbal, the youngest of the Kaskar brothers, stayed away from the gang’s activities throughout his formative years in Mumbai. He was the last of the Kaskar clan to move to Dubai in the early 1990s. It is said the migration was triggered by the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, following which the police tightened the noose around Dawood’s men and business interests in Mumbai.
D Company sources revealed that Dawood ensured a livelihood for Iqbal by allotting him two shops in a shopping mall in Dubai, where he sold electronic goods and mobile phones before the UAE government began flushing out D Company hands post the 9/11 strike in the United States. While Mustakin shifted to Karachi briefly to avoid the heat in Dubai, Iqbal came back to Mumbai, little knowing what was in store from him.
Soon after his deportation, he was booked in two cases of murder and land-grabbing. He was acquitted in both those cases in 2007 and went to live in the family’s well-guarded fortress on Pakmodia street.
A former senior crime branch official who had interrogated Iqbal following his deportation said that he was a “softy” by underworld standards and his writ ran only because of his infamous surname. “Pehele pura murga kha raha tha, baad main Vada Pav pe aagaya (earlier he used to eat a full chicken but later made do with Vada Pav),” was how the official described how Iqbal’s extortion business dwindled over the years.
Iqbal found the going tough and faced repeated brushes with the law or came in the line of fire of Dawood’s rivals, Chhota Rajan in particular, whenever he tried to bite off more than he could chew. In 2011, Rajan’s men gunned down Iqbal’s driver, Aarif, right inside Dawood’s den in Nagpada. Analysts said it was more a signal to Dawood and Iqbal than any real desire to kill Iqbal. Three years later, Iqbal found himself making the rounds of Byculla police station after a little known developer slapped an extortion case against him – a far cry from the glory days of D Company.
Iqbal loves to play gully cricket on weekends and his cronies, of late, consisted of some soft- ball cricketers in the neighbourhood. Needless to say, cricket remains an obsession for the Kaskar brothers, be it in the by-lanes of Dongri or the pavilions in Dubai.