Salim Fruit passed on extorted money to D-Company: NIA

Published on Aug 05, 2022 07:51 PM IST
Mumbai The special NIA court on Friday remanded gangster Chhota Shakeel’s brother-in-law Salim Qureshi, alias Salim Fruit, to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody till August 17 after the federal agency informed the court that Qureshi was threatening city builders and passing on the money extorted from them to his bosses in the Dawood Ibrahim gang
They even identified developers of at least two properties in Mumbai, who were threatened by Fruitwala. (Vijay Gohil/ANI)
They even identified developers of at least two properties in Mumbai, who were threatened by Fruitwala. (Vijay Gohil/ANI)

Mumbai The special NIA court on Friday remanded gangster Chhota Shakeel’s brother-in-law Salim Qureshi, alias Salim Fruit, to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody till August 17 after the federal agency informed the court that Qureshi was threatening city builders and passing on the money extorted from them to his bosses in the Dawood Ibrahim gang.

The agency accused Qureshi of threatening city businessmen, especially builders. They even identified developers of at least two properties in Mumbai, who were threatened by Fruitwala.

NIA also informed the special court that during raids conducted at Qureshi’s premises on May 9, they have recovered over 10,000 documents and a specialised forensic auditor is appointed to scrutinise the documents. Several of those documents are related to properties and also include documents related to illegal assets amassed by him.

The agency sought his custody remand, claiming that the extortion money had been passed on in layered transactions which needed to be probed. “Custody is required to fundamentally know the extortion racket being run in the name of D-Company,” they claimed.

Defence lawyer advocate Viquar Rajguru on the other hand claimed that Qureshi is a respectable member of the society who runs a chemist shop in Byculla. He pointed out that he had no criminal antecedents and there was no “live” first information report (FIR) or chargesheet pending against him to show his links with the D-Company.

“So what if his wife is the sister of Chhota Shakeel,” he asked and added, “It’s not a crime to get married. His is a love marriage.” The lawyer also complained that the NIA sleuths took away “everything, including laptops of his wife and children (after the raid).”

Rajguru further claimed that not a single property has been identified and added that for two weeks, Qureshi was just made to sit in the NIA office for several hours, even though he cooperated with the investigators.

After hearing both the sides, the court remanded Qureshi to NIA custody till August 17.

The federal agency had on February 3 registered a case against fugitive ganster Dawood Ibrahim, his brother Anees and Chhota Shakeel among others for their alleged involvement in arms smuggling, narco-terrorism, money laundering, circulation of Fake Indian Currency Notes and unauthorised possession or involvement in acquisition of assets for raising terror funds and for working in active collaboration with international terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Al Qaeda.

Earlier on May 12, the agency had arrested two accused - Arif Abubaker Shaikh and Shabbir Abubaker Shaikh in connection with the case. Qureshi, a resident of Central Mumbai, has played an active role in extorting huge amounts of money in the name of Chhota Shakeel through property dealing and dispute settlement. He also played an active role in raising terror funds.

Earlier, on May 9, the agency conducted raids at 29 locations in Mumbai and in adjoining Thane district against associates of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. The searches were held in as many as 24 locations in Mumbai and five places in Mira Bhayander.

Based on the NIA case, the Enforcement Directorate had also registered a money laundering case against Dawood and his close associates on February 14. On February 23, the ED arrested Maharashtra minority development minister Nawab Malik for allegedly usurping a 300 crore-worth property at Kurla from a local resident with the help of Dawood’s late sister Haseena Parkar.

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