A British probe agency may freeze over Rs 50 crore belonging to an alleged frontman of global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim after evidence was given by the CBI responding to a request from the authorities in the UK.
According to the sources, the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit of New Scotland Yard began investigations against Salim Mohammed Ghaus Sheikh following a 'suspicious account' report given by the Citibank group.
The UK probe agency came to know from newspapers that Ghaus was a wanted by CBI in Ghutka case. The Citibank reported to the British authorities about suspicious transaction of Rs 19 crore ($4.3 million) of Ghaus.
CBI was immediately approached by the UK Investigation Unit of the New Scotland yard police.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency of the UK had recently sought assistance from the CBI to institute civil proceedings against Ghaus in the UK High Court to confiscate his financial assets to the tune of Rs 21.3 crore (2.7 million pound) and Rs 12.6 crore (1.6 million pound).
"The request of the UK agencies for assistance from CBI was examined by the CBI and government. Subsequently, the government, in accordance with the Mutual Legal Agreement Treaty, accorded the necessary sanction and the CBI provided the necessary documents to UK agencies to institute their civil proceedings to deprive the organised crime syndicate of Dawood of his assets held in the name of his front man Ghaus in the United Kingdom," a senior CBI official said.
The CBI termed handing over of evidence to the British probe agency as an 'excellent example' of international cooperation in the field of terrorist financing and money laundering.
Ghaus, according to the CBI, was operating Golden Box Trading Company in Dubai, which is alleged to be the front company of organised crime syndicate of Dawood Ibrahim who has been termed by the US State Department as a global terrorist and also figures on the UN watch list of individuals having connections with terror network Al-Qaeda.
The CBI had earlier received the sanction from the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, for prosecution under MCOCA of five additional accused persons in the Gutkha case. The five accused persons against whom sanction has been received include Dawood, Abdul Hamid Antulay, Salim Mohd Ghaus Shaikh and two Gutkha manufacturers.
The case was initially registered by the Mumbai Police on October 2004 against four persons: Zamiruddin Ansari alias Jumbo, Rajesh Pancharya alias Rajubhai, Anees Ibrahim Kaskar and Farooq Mohd. Ansari on the complaint of one Mustapha Kabir, an exporter, that he was threatened at gun point by Zamiruddin Ansari and by Anees Ibrahim to forcibly purchase five gutkha pouch packaging machines from Raju Pancharya and thereafter send those to Karachi via Dubai for use in his gutkha factory in Pakistan.
After investigation, Mumbai Police filed a charge sheet against the four accused under MCOCA and obtained permission from a court to conduct further investigation.
The state government transferred the case to CBI to find out the nexus between the two gutkha businessmen and the organised crime syndicate of Anees and Dawood Ibrahim. The CBI registered this case on February nine, 2005.
The CBI probe, which has made out a prima facie case against nine accused, including the four chargesheeted by the Mumbai Police, said one leading Gutkha manufacturer was abetting the unlawful activities of the organised crime syndicate of Dawood by supplying his brand of Gutkha to one Golden Box Trading Company of Dubai owned by his brother-in-law.
CBI has also found that another gutkha manufacturer has helped in setting up a gutkha factory in Pakistan. He also conspired with Anees Ibrahim to kidnap his own employee to Pakistan to work in the gutkha factory of Anees during June, 2002 to December, 2004.Another Gutkha manufacturer's role had come to light when he demanded 20 per cent share of the capital and net profits from the prominent Gutkha manufacturer. To settle this dispute, both first met in Dubai on September 8, 1999.
However, their dispute could not be resolved and therefore they went to Karachi to meet Dawood to arrive at a settlement. As per the agreement reached there, the prominent Gutkha manufacturer is alleged to have paid Rs 11 crore to the smaller manufacturer who in turn assisted Anees in establishing a gutka factory in Pakistan for Rs three crore, thus providing pecuniary gain to the organised crime syndicate, the CBI alleged.