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Bangla cracks down on D-company

The Bangladesh police are on the verge of busting D-company’s (Dawood Ibrahim’s gang) network in that country. Acting on a tip-off, believed to be from Interpol, they raided the house of one Zahid Sheikh, alias Mujahid, in Dhaka on Thursday and seized a list of 50 D-company gangsters staying in Bangladesh. See graphics

world Updated: Jun 07, 2009 02:48 IST

The Bangladesh police are on the verge of busting D-company’s (Dawood Ibrahim’s gang) network in that country.

Acting on a tip-off, believed to be from Interpol, they raided the house of one Zahid Sheikh, alias Mujahid, in Dhaka on Thursday and seized a list of 50 D-company gangsters staying in Bangladesh.

Sheikh is one of the key mentors of the gang in that country.

A senior official of Detective Branch (DB), the Bangladeshi counterpart of India’s Criminal Investigation Department, told HT, “The Indian terror syndicate enjoys the blessings of some influential political leaders.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity as is not authorised to speak to the media.

The police were tight-lipped about the identity of these leaders. But they are believed to be four ex-ministers belonging to former Prime Minister Begum Khalida Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its alliance partner Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh. The party had supported Pakistan when Bangladesh became independent with Indian help in 1971.

Dawood, 53, and many of his top lieutenants and relatives are wanted in India for organising the 1993 Bombay blasts and for several cases of murder, extortion and other crimes.

Police are now raiding places frequented by the gang.

“We have interrogated the commissioner of Brahman-baria Municipality (about 333 km southwest of Dhaka), on Thursday as he provided documents identifying many of these people as Bangladeshi nationals for making fake passports,” said Mahbub Alam, assistant deputy commissioner, DB. “We will interrogate the mayor on Sunday.”

This comes at a time when there are unconfirmed reports that Anees Ibrahim, 49, Dawood’s brother, had been injured or killed in a shootout with some unnamed Balochi gang.

Pakistan has accused India of supporting Balochi separatists in the north west of that country. The Indian government has, on several occasions, vehemently denied this charge.

Pakistani intelligence agency ISI often uses D-company members to carry out terror attacks in India and to smuggle in arms, ammunition and explosives into this country. It uses Bangladesh as a staging post for several of its arms shipments to India.

According to DB officials, Sheikh admitted he’d been involved with D-company for the last eight years and provided local logistics and political support.

Based on his interrogation, a joint team of the local police and DB rounded up Abdul Rauf, alias Dawood Merchant, and his local contact from Brahmanbaria town.

Merchant was sentenced to life imprisonment for music baron Gulshan Kumar’s murder in 1997. He escaped to Bangladesh in March after jumping parole.

Based on information provided by Sheikh and Merchant, the police are conducting raids across Bangladesh to nab other members of the gang. The DB will seek Interpol’s help “in a day or two”.

In Delhi, a senior Intelligence Bureau official said: “We would like Dhaka to share details on that list (which it has seized) with us, so we can work together.”

The Indian security establishment believes D-network in Bang-ladesh is at least 150-people-strong.

(The author is associate editor of Dhaka-based daily The News Today, Additional inputs from Aloke Tikku and Nandini R Iyer)