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Dawood under ISI protection

India's most wanted mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar is under the protection of Pak's ISI in Karachi.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2008 20:33 IST

India's most wanted mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar is under the protection of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in Karachi, according to revelations to police by Karimullah Osan Habib Khan, an accused in the March 1993 blasts who was arrested on Thursday.

A senior police official said Friday that Karimullah had made other revelations, which have confirmed the intelligence inputs gathered by Indian agencies over the past few years.

Dawood has invested most of his wealth into the stock markets and is among the most respected and wealthy residents of Karachi, Karimullah told police, who have been interrogating him since Thursday.

He also said that the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts mastermind Tiger Yakub Memon lives in Karachi and is engaged in realty development there, the crime branch official said. At least seven others involved and wanted in connection with the blasts are also staying in Karachi.

On the other hand, Anees Ibrahim Kaskar, Dawood's younger brother, is believed to be involved in running a fake currency racket and in narcotics. All the gangsters live together in the posh Clifton area of Karachi, Karimullah has told the police.

Karimullah, who worked on a regular monthly salary from Dawood, has further claimed that he had helped recruit young boys to train for terror operations, including carrying out blasts.

He, along with his family, lived with Dawood and other gangsters in Karachi before deciding to come to India via Kathmandu three years ago to settle down in the Nalla Sopara suburb of Thane district, from where he was nabbed.

Dawood resides in a bungalow on a two-acre plot in Karachi that is protected round-the-clock by retired army personnel. Apart from ISI army officials, Dawood also get visitors from the western frontiers of Pakistan, he revealed.

Karimullah was handed over to the Special Task Force (STF) of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Mumbai Friday morning. He was produced before Special Judge UD Mulla of the designated TADA Court and has been remanded to CBI custody for a week.

Thursday's operation leading to Karimullah's sensational arrest was carried out under the supervision of Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria. Incidentally, Maria was instrumental in cracking the 1993 blasts case when he worked as a deputy commissioner of police in the same department at the time.

The blasts had left 257 dead, 713 injured and scores missing besides damaging public and private properties worth over Rs.270 million.

Karimullah has been on the wanted lists of the Interpol, CBI - which had announced a reward of Rs.500,000 in his name, and also the Mumbai police for a murder case.

Karimullah, 46, had supervised the landings of deadly arms, ammunition and explosives several months prior to the blasts and organized their transfer to Mumbai.

The cargo had landed in several instalments - Jan 6-7 and Feb 5-6, 1993 - at Shekhadi, Mhasla and other small fishing ports dotting the coastal districts of Maharashtra.

After the 12 deadly serial blasts, Karimullah went underground for almost four months before sneaking off to Dubai in June 1993.

From there, he later went to Karachi to join Dawood and other associates like Ejaaz Pathan, Tiger Yakub Memon and other gangsters who are among the most wanted in India, Maria said Thursday.

The senior official said that Karimullah had left Karachi to go to Kathmandu in February 2006, from where he entered India by road and finally came to Mira Road suburb, also in Thane district.

Originally living in Cotton Green suburb of south-central Mumbai, Karimullah stayed in Mira Road for a year before moving to Nalla Sopara.

The police have also recovered his Permanent Account Number (PAN) card and an old driving licence from which his identity could be confirmed.

In the early 1990s, he was arrested for the murder of a businessman Dilip Panchal at Kalachowki, in south-central part of the city. He managed to jump bail and the Mumbai police was on the lookout for him ever since, Maria had informed.