Chhota Shakeel dead? 2 versions of how Dawood aide died, and audio clip, surface

Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By, Mumbai
Dec 21, 2017 10:54 AM IST

According to an informant who reached out to Hindustan Times, Chhota Shakeel, the lieutenant to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, died on January 6 in Islamabad.

Chhota Shakeel (full name Mohammed Shakeel Babu Miyan Shaikh), the trusted lieutenant of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, may be dead, according to an informant who reached out to Hindustan Times amid buzz in crime circles.

Chhota Shakeel, the lieutenant of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.(File Photo)
Chhota Shakeel, the lieutenant of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.(File Photo)

Hindustan Times has in its possession an audio clip of a conversation between a member of Shakeel’s gang, Bilal, and a Mumbai-based relative of Shakeel to the same effect but could not authenticate it.

Top officials in the National Security Council Secretariat in New Delhi and Mumbai Police said they were not in a position to either confirm or deny this.

According to underworld sources, Karachi-based Shakeel, 57, died on January 6 in Islamabad, where he had gone for a meeting with members of the infamous Odessa. There are two versions of his death. According to one, he suffered a heart attack and was rushed by his bodyguards to the Combined Medical Hospital in Rawalpindi by air. He was declared brought dead.

Read | Dawood’s brothers, Iqbal and Anees, Chhota Shakeel went to Dubai from Pak for Mumbai land deal

According to another, Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence or ISI used Odessa to kill Shakeel because it was becoming difficult to manage him.

His body was kept in a morgue for two days and then flown to Karachi in a C-130 transport aircraft. He was buried in Karachi in an unmarked grave in the Defence Housing Authority graveyard.

Soon after, his second wife Ayesha, and other members of his family, who lived with him at D-48, 15th Lane, Khayaban-Seher, DHA Colony, were asked to vacate the house, and moved to an ISI safe house in Lahore.

Shakeel is survived by two wives, a son, two daughters, and a granddaughter.

Read | How this Delhi milkman’s son became gangster Chhota Shakeel’s aide

News of Shakeel’s death was broken to Dawood Ibrahim two days later. Only about 20-odd people know of the death, the informant and the underworld sources said. They claimed the ISI wants to keep Shakeel’s death secret and continue to use his virtual presence to broker deals.

According to the sources, Shakeel himself had facilitated this virtual presence, by training a Pakistani national called Rahim Merchant alias Doghla (two-faced) to impersonate him and mimic his voice. Merchant is the one who has been calling up businessmen and media houses for close to two decades – ever since Shakeel’s ISI-enabled entry into Pakistan from the United Arab Emirates.

Merchant will likely continue to do this, the sources said, especially because Shakeel is the ISI’s front in many arms deals.

Read | Iqbal Kaskar called Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel 100 times in 2yrs: Police

News of Shakeel’s death pushed Dawood Ibrahim into depression, the sources said, and he had to be admitted to hospital in late January, and, again, in March. They claimed that having lost his trusted man, Dawood is contemplating ways to return to India. They further added that Shakeel’s aides Bilal, Mohammed Rashid, Iqbal Salim, Yusuf Raja, and Parvez Khawaja, all Pakistani nationals, have broken from Dawood’s D-company.

In recent weeks, there’s been a lot of buzz around Shakeel, with media reports claiming he has split from Dawood Ibrahim.

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    Presley Thomas heads the crime and legal team of Hindustan Times, Mumbai. Has been a journalist since the last 16 years and has worked with various national dailies. Covers defence and terrorism, and has reported from various states across the country

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