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Dawood Ibrahim's key aide arrested in Bangladesh

world Updated: Jun 07, 2009 20:11 IST

In a setback to fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Bangladesh police on Sunday arrested one of his key aides in Bangladesh, even as a nationwide manhunt was underway to nab members of his network following detention of two major operatives of the gang.

"We (detective branch of police) today arrested Arif alias Chachcha from Mohammadpur" area of the city, a police
spokesman said.

Arif, one of the top operatives of the Dawood network in Bangladesh, was living in Dhaka identifying himself as a
member of the Urdu-speaking stranded Pakistani community or Bihari since 2001, when he fled India to evade a murder
charge, the spokesman said.

Soon after his arrest, Arif was placed under an eight-day police remand under a court order to be grilled for
information about the network as he was produced before metropolitan magistrate Tania Kamal.

During initial interrogation, officials said, Arif disclosed that he was in constant touch with Dawood's
second-in-command Chhota Shakil while they have a network of over 100 men in Bangladesh who included both Indian nationals and some "influential Bangladeshis".

Arif married a Bangladeshi woman and he was receiving Taka 60,000 from Chhota Shakil per month.

The arrest came as police on May 29 detained two accomplices of Dawood, Indian nationals Abdur Rauf Daud Merchant and Zahid Sheikh and their Bangladeshi associate Mohammad Kamal from central Brahmanbaria district.

The same court today also granted police six more days to question them as they were produced before the court on
expiry of their eight days' remand.

Police has launched a manhunt for Dawood's men in Bangladesh while the detained accomplices of the don said
their network here was being patronised by several influential people.

Officials familiar with investigation process earlier said two former ministers, three lawmakers and seven
businessmen patron the network in Bangladesh but declined to disclose their names.

They said the network consisted of some 300 people, 150 of them being highly paid agents of Dawood Ibrahim and
Chhota Shakil.

"We have obtained some significant information from the arrestees - that they had established their terror network
in the country in late 1995 and started strengthening it after 2000 by recruiting 300 dedicated gangsters," the New Age reported quoting a senior police official.

A Daily Star reporter who earlier managed to talk to Merchant in custody said the 150 highly paid agents have been
working in the country and Shakil has been dealing with their payments through a money exchange firm.