Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s new claim that India’s most wanted criminal Dawood Ibrahim will be nabbed is palatable but far-fetched. Three prized catches, two of them nabbed recently, have certainly bolstered Indian security agencies’ confidence.
However, the difference between the ones who are behind bars and the one Shinde intends to put there is a mammoth one. Perhaps the home minister is going a little overboard in wooing people citing recent successes. The three important arrests that took place recently are those of Abu Jundal, Abdul Karim Tunda, both Lashkar-e-Toeba (LeT) operatives and Yasin Bhatkal, Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) co-founder.
Post his success as home minister in nabbing notable terrorists Shinde’s regular statements reiterating that Dawood Ibrahim will also be caught has put security agencies and other government departments in a quandary. While some see it as over confidence after recent successes others find it a complete ‘publicity stunt’.
Former director general of police (DGP) of Border Security Force (BSF) Prakash Singh told Millennium-Post, ‘The statements which are being made by the home minister don’t carry any conviction and such things are being said to woo the people.’
To list a few, on 9 September Shinde said during a function in Mumbai that the Indian government has proposed a joint action with the United States to arrest the fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim. ‘We have arrested some most wanted terrorists (of late) and have killed a few on the border.
As far as Dawood (Ibrahim) is concerned, we are in touch with (US agency) the FBI,’ Shinde had said, adding that, ‘There is already a red corner notice (against Dawood Ibrahim). We have proposed a joint action with the US (to arrest him). US Attorney General Eric Holder has also agreed to this.’
Ridiculing US assistance, former DGP Prakash Singh added, ‘Why would US help us in nabbing Dawood Ibrahim? I think they would outrightly refuse to get involved in this unless they have their own state interests. India will have to do it on its own.’ Singh added that it was the US government which took so much of pursuance in allowing a National Investigating Agency (NIA) team to examine David Coleman Headley. ‘Why would such a government get involved in our internal matter?’ Singh asked.
In New Delhi on 3 September, Shinde had said when asked about Dawood Ibrahim, ‘We will bring (terrorists) one by one. All will come... just wait.’ Besides, Shinde had revealed to the Lok Sabha that Dawood Ibrahim and Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed were in Pakistan and that India had asked Pakistan to extradite them so that they can be tried in various terror cases in India.
High-profile arrests during Shinde’s tenure
During Shinde’s tenure, security agencies successfully brought back some wanted terrorists including Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, key plotter of Mumbai attack, terrorists Fasih Mahmood, LeT operative Abdul Karim Tunda and recently IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal. Shinde was made the home minister on 31 July last year.
Jundal, an LeT operative, accused of carrying out blasts in Ahmedabad railway station, the Aurangabad arms haul case and a co-accused in German bakery blast, was deported from Saudi Arabia in June 2012.
Fasih Mahmood, also an LeT operative from Bihar, had allegedly been involved in the 2010 Chinnaswamy Stadium blast in Bangalore and a terror attack near Jama Masjid in 2010. He was arrested in Saudi Arabia and subsequently brought back to India.
Tunda who was caught on 16 August is accused of carrying out blasts in New Delhi, Panipat, Sonepat, Ludhiana, Kanpur and Varanasi between December 1996 and January 1998. He was arrested along the India-Nepal border last month.
IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal alias Syed Mohammed Ahmed Zarar Siddibapa, wanted in approximately 40 blast cases and carrying a reward of Rs 35 lakh on his head, was arrested from India-Nepal border on 29 August. On these arrests, Prakash Singh said, ‘Our intelligence agencies should be applauded for these apprehensions as they have done a commendable job.’
How Dawood Ibrahim is different from other wanted criminals?
Besides being India’s most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim is embedded in India’s system as a personality. He runs the country’s biggest transnational illegal networks heading vast and multifaceted businesses. Alleged to be in Pakistan’s Karachi, Dawood Ibrahim is the mastermind of Mumbai 1993 bomb blasts that had left 257 people dead and 713 injured.
India has provided evidence on several occasions to Pakistan about Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. But Pakistan has refused to acknowledge that they are living on its territory refusing to cooperate with India
According to reports, Dawood maintains close links with terror outfit Al-Qaeda.
As a result, the US had declared him a ‘global terrorist’ and pursued the matter before the United Nations in an attempt to freeze his assets around the world and crack down on his operations.
Above all, Dawood’s alleged links with several political personalities in India makes him a tough target. There is a general perception that his arrest would unravel a plethora of dirty secrets the country is marred with. It is also alleged that it is the underworld’s money that is circulated in real estate businesses in India. Likewise there are several other reason which differentiate Dawood Ibrahim from other most wanted men.