The BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi told a Gujarati news channel on Saturday that he would bring notorious don Dawood Ibrahim to India from Pakistan if he comes to power. Can this objective be achieved?
Former IPS officer YC Pawar, who effected the first breakthrough in the investigation into the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts masterminded by Dawood Ibrahim in tandem with Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan, is of the firm opinion that the don can indeed be brought to India.
He told dna on Saturday: "Modi is a man of tremendous will power and a go-getter. These qualities are needed at the topmost level to operationalise a plan to eject Dawood out of Pakistan."
"I am not saying this as a member of the BJP, but as a professional cop who has dealt with organised crime for several years. It should not be a difficult task," he asserted.
Incidentally, in 1993 a plan was prepared by the Mumbai police under leadership of the then commissioner AS Samra to send a crack team of five highly-motivated officers with fake passports to Karachi to eliminate Dawood. But, New Delhi never gave the go-ahead for this undercover operation. Chhota Rajan, the arch rival of Dawood, stated on Friday night that some years ago he had sent a hit squad, including Farid Tanasha and DK Rao, to Karachi to eliminate Dawood.
"Dawood was scheduled to come to offer prayers at a dargah near his home in Karachi. My boys were lying in wait. But he never turned up and the operation had to be called off," he disclosed.
Sources in the intelligence community, however, noted that such an operation is not as simple as it appears. Dawood's chief lieutenant Chhota Shakeel had told dna a few months ago that: "Dawoodbhai koyi halwa nahin hai ke usko uthake koi be le jaa sakta hai.(Dawood is not a piece of halwa that anyone can take him away)."
What Shakeel, who is currently based in Pakistan, implied was that the don has several layers of security around him. Dawood has always been guarded by fierce Baloch guards trained by the ISI. This is over and above the army of private bodyguards he has employed. After the CIA-led operation in Abbotabad in which the world's most dreaded terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, was killed on May 2, 2001 by the US Navy Seals, Dawood's security detail was closely reviewed and his location and movements have been made even more secretive than before.
"The killing of Osama has been a great learning experience for the ISI and it has beefed up Dawood's security in a big way," an intelligence officer observed.
A senior official said, "Dawood, who is on first name terms with the Whos Who of the Pakistani military-political establishment, is a huge intelligence asset for Pakistan. The ISI would prefer to eliminate him rather than let any Indian agency track him down and kidnap or assassinate him. This is because Dawood is a man who-knows-too-much. Only the Nishan-e-Pakistan title has not been conferred on him, but for all practical purposes he is treated as one."
Income-tax officials said one of the first acts of Modi after assuming office should be to let them hand over the 12 properties of Dawood, which is in their custody for the past several years, to the Mumbai police for accommodating some of its officers and men or for use as offices. Twice these properties were aunctioned by the IT department to recover tax dues. But barring a bid for a commercial premise in Tardeo, no one came forward to bid for the remaining properties for fear of reprisal by D Gang. A Delhi-based advocate Ajay Srivastav successfully bid for the Tardeo property years ago, but he is still not being allowed by D Company to take possession of it.
"In fact, Modi should check purchase of land in coastal Gujarat by persons fronting for Dawood," an IT official stated.