Last week, Indian intelligence agencies intercepted a call made from Karachi to Dubai. The Karachi caller was discussing millions of US dollar worth investment in the United Arab Emirates with his Gulf-based counterpart.
A quick match with known voice samples revealed that the caller was a certain Shaikh Dawood Hasan Ibrahim, none other than the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai blasts and India’s most wanted criminal.
Twenty years after the Mumbai blasts, Dawood continues to elude justice. Questions have been raised on the Indian government’s will to get him. Indian agencies apparently don’t even have his recent photograph.
“But I don’t think the Indian government has given up its efforts to get Dawood,” Arun Jaitley, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, told HT on Thursday.
“We have failed since all evidence reveals he is in the protective custody of our neighbour. Perhaps more bilateral and international pressure needs to be put on Pakistan."
The Dubai business details discussed in last week's intercepted call were shared with revenue intelligence agencies. It was evident Dawood was playing big in real estate, fertiliser and shipping, and his area of operation stretched from Mumbai to the US via Dubai.
In the same call, Dawood's wife Mahajabeen is heard chatting with one of her two daughters based in Dubai about an upcoming Bollywood movie based on the life of her husband.
Official sources admit despite keeping a constant tab on Dawood and his associates like Chhota Shakeel, Fahim Muchmuch, Ahmed Langda and Javed Chikna, they have been unsuccessful in nabbing him or cracking down on his India operations. Indian intelligence believes Dawood is the force behind circulating fake Indian currency, drugs smuggling and many real estate deals in the country.
During his meeting with FBI director Robert Mueller in Washington in September 2009, then home minister P Chidambaram discussed ways to get the terrorist. Mueller told him Dawood's business footprint was expanding in the US and the time had come for both countries to share information on him.
Last May, home secretary RK Singh handed over a list of '49 most wanted fugitives from justice' to Pakistan. As many as 18 of the 49 fugitives belong to D Company. Dawood has three Pakistani passports, three houses in Karachi, and keys to ISI safe houses on Islamabad-Muree Road and the Pakistani capital's Margalla Road.