Arif Mirza Beg, once a key lieutenant of Dawood Ibrahim’s second-in-command Chhota Shakeel, has been on the Crime Branch’s radar for six months.
The 40-year-old had hoodwinked sleuths for more than five years by adopting a new identity as ‘Nasir’.
His pseudo identity was unmasked after the arrest of other Shakeel aides, Rashid Malbari and Gurmeet Singh Bhullar, earlier this year.
Beg who has five cases of murder and scores of extortion cases against him, was once a trusted aide of Shakeel.
He fled India in 2004 and operated from foreign countries through his network of foot soldiers in Mumbai.
At the time of his arrest he was suspected to be working independently with Tareeq Parvin, another Shakeel man. The police, however, claim
Beg still is associated with Shakeel.
Sources claim that Intelligence Bureau officials watched Beg’s movements in Jakarta, Indonesia and Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Once they had verified his identity, the Intelligence Bureau officials informed the Colombo police about his background and the fake passport, which Beg had been using to stay on in Sri Lanka.
Last week, the Colombo police picked up Beg from a downtown lodge and deported him to India on charges of exceeding his stay in the country.
The Intelligence Bureau tipped off the Mumbai police about his deportation. Crime Branch officials picked Beg up the moment he landed in Mumbai.
The Crime Branch, however, claimed that Beg was arrested from Grant Road on Sunday. “Beg is a prize catch and his arrest will help us to catch other big fish in the underworld,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said at a press conference.
Sources said that the police did not wanted to declare Beg’s arrest for another 10-15 days.
The sleuths had planned to make him call his underworld associates trap them in the net. However, their plans were aborted as news of Beg’s arrest became public.
“All of Beg’s associates have gone into hiding now,” an officer said requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The police hope that Beg’s arrest will help them crack down on the don Dawood Ibrahim gang said to be operating from Karachi in Pakistan.
From property dealer to underworld man
He studied in an English-medium school and is the alumnus of a reputed south Mumbai college.
A resident of Mohammed Ali Road, Arif Mirza Beg (40) was known to be a bright student. He studied at the Our Lady of Diocesan School at Marine Lines and graduated in commerce from KC College in the early 1990s.
Police said during the Gulf boom, an agent promised Beg a job in a five-star hotel in 1994. However, on reaching there, he was made to work in a shady hotel. He quite his job and returned to India.
“Faced with unemployment, Arif started giving tuitions. He got involved in the real estate business,” said a police officer requesting anonymity.
Arif had his first brush with the underworld when he was handling a disputed property in Mahim with businessman Raees Kashmiri and a man named Stanley. “Arif got a call from [Chhota] Shakeel to settle the matter in his party’s favour and for that he was paid around Rs 5 lakh,” sources said.
Kashmiri and Stanley were unhappy with the settlement. They later joined the rival Chhota Rajan gang and started harassing Beg.
Beg, to save himself from Kashmiri and his associates, bought weapons with Shakeel’s assistance and entered the underworld full time. “He killed Kashmiri at Kurla station in 1998. This was followed by four other murders,” police said.
Married twice, Beg has three children.