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US intelligence tightening noose on Dawood: Report
November 29, 2005 20:55 IST
United States intelligence agencies are tightening the noose around underworld don Dawood Ibrahim over his linkages with the Al Qaeda terror network and alleged involvement in global drug trafficking, according to media reports.
"US officials now have him at the centre of two investigations: one, by the Drug Enforcement Agency, looking at his ties to the heroin trade; another, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, tracing his assets and ties to terrorist groups through a top Pakistani CD counterfeiter," The US News and World magazine said in its latest edition.
"Getting Dawood may be tough, as Pakistani officials deny he is even in their country. But with Washington pressing for his capture, Ibrahim, now 50, may have outlived his usefulness to (Pakistani intelligence agency) Inter Services Intelligence," it said.
US officials told the magazine that Dawood has ties to several terror outfits including the Lakshar-e-Tayiba, responsible for the recent bombings in New Delhi and for the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. Dawood has supposedly met with Al Qaeda leaders and has even made a deal to share his smuggling routes with the Al Qaeda operatives, the magazine said in the cover story 'The New Business of Terror'.
Dawood is very much on Washington's radar screen today, with the Treasury Department designating him as global terrorist two years ago for being part of the smuggling routes of the Al Qaeda and assisting terror outfits in Pakistan as well as having a hand in the 1993 Mumbai blasts, it added.
"Virtually unknown in the west, Dawood Ibrahim is a household name across the region, his exploits known by millions," the report said.
"He is, by all accounts, a world-class mobster, a soft-spoken, murderous businessman from Bombay who now lives in exile, sheltered by India's arch enemy, Pakistan," it said, mentioning the extent of criminal gangs that run from Bangkok to Dubai and a network that specialises in strong-arm protection, drug trafficking, extortion and murder-for-hire.
"He is far and away India's most wanted man, his name invoked time and again by Indian officials in their discussions of terrorism with US diplomats and intelligence officers. As a result of those discussions, the FBI and DEA each have active investigations into Dawood's far-flung criminal network," the report said.
"The big fish -- the Indian mobsters, Moroccan hash dealers, and Afghan drug barons -- are swimming overseas, however, and US law enforcement is starting to train its sights on the worst of them," it said.
Dawood may be operating out of Karachi and in close nexus with Pakistan's ISI; but Washington is actively pursuing 'D Company's' involvement in a number of unsavoury and horrific activities, according to the report.
American intelligence believes that the assets of D Company run into hundreds of millions of dollars with several thousand employees.