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Deportations deepen the rift between Dawood and Shakeel

The deportation of 11 alleged aides of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim from UAE since Saturday might be an unexpected windfall for the Mumbai police, but for his gang members, it means a spell of uncertainty, reports Abhishek Sharan.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2006 23:02 IST

The deportation of 11 alleged aides of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim from UAE since Saturday might be an unexpected windfall for the Mumbai police, but for his gang members, it means a spell of uncertainty.

All the eleven deported gangsters were either close aides or relatives of Chotta Shakeel, Dawood's top lieutenant, and they were handed over on a platter to UAE's enforcement authorities by Dawood himself and his brother Anees, according to Crime Branch officers who are not authorised to talk to the media.

Shakeel and Anees have been locked in a bitter duel of supremacy in the gang since last many years and with the extradition, now appears that Dawood has finally tipped his weight in the favour of his brother.

But Shakeel, sources pointed out, who controls the gang's shooters and key points men for its extortion/narcotics/ counterfeit currency operations on behalf of Dawood, is not an easy target for either his mentor or Anees. "He has become the pivot of the gang and will fight back to recover his losses", said an officer.

The officer added that Shakeel, in the wake of the deportations, is busy consolidating his resources and men and has let it be known to Dawood and Anees that "if he is hurt more, he can retaliate back to inflict damages to them. Considering his strengths, it is expected that his message will be seriously received".

Shakeel, who had differences with his younger brother Anwar who helps him in the gang's extortion activities, is reported to have asked Anwar to lie low in this time of crisis since they both are under fire from Dawood.

According to sources, Shakeel has well-entrenched patrons in the UAE enforcement authorities as well and this fact is indicated by the fact that he managed to save two of his closest aides, younger brother Anwar and 1993 blasts accused Abdul Qayyum, when the crackdown began in Dubai two weeks ago.

"Based on his tip-off, his brother Anwar let his flat in Dubai only a day before the crackdown began to round-up his aides. Similarly, he used his contacts with the local police there to ensure release for Qayyum before he could be handed over to the CBI", said an officer.

Anwar, since having eluded the Dubai Police, is on the run currently. According to sources, he has left the UAE but is not disclosing his whereabouts to his aides unless essential. In the past three-four days, said an officer, "Anwar must have made dozens of calls to his men in Mumbai. He is anxious and gives details to them on the crackdown of his fellow associates, but refuses to give his current address", said a source.

Based on the tip-off that Anwar had about the crackdown, another Shakeel aide named Zuber, had also vacated his Dubai flat before the police could grab him. "But he returned the very next day in his flat, saying once being raided, it can't invite the police again soon", said a source.

For Zuber and many other Shakeel associates the days to come might mean more trouble—not necessarily from rival gangsters this time.

First Published: Nov 22, 2006 23:02 IST