In 2013, during the election campaign, Narendra Modi announced if he wins the elections, he would bring Underworld criminal Don Dawood Ibrahim to India to be tried for the 1993 blasts in Mumbai. Dawood stands convicted in India for 1993 blasts, together with several Mumbai abettors. Several pro-Modi analysts, including former diplomats, are showing interest in targeting Pakistan-based clerics and other extremists allegedly involved in terror activities in India.
Chhota Rajan, a sworn rival of Dawood, stated that some years ago he had sent a hit squad, including Farid Tanasha and DK Rao, to Karachi to eliminate Dawood. Almost after the seven years of Modi rule, he never tried to bring back Dawood. Rather ahead of the Mumbai civic election this year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used the arrest of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) minister Nawab Malik to invoke memories of the deadly 1993 Mumbai blasts and slammed the Shiv Sena for indirectly supporting the masterminds of the blast. Now Chhota Rajan is in Indian jails and he can happily help PM Modi to trace Dawood.
It is believed that Chhota Rajan assisted intelligence agencies in getting a low down on the activities of the D-Company and its members by using his vast knowledge of the criminal and its operations from his involvement. To reinforce his reputation as a patriotic gangster, Chhota Rajan threatened to kill those accused of engineering the 1993 Mumbai bombings. Saleem ‘Kurla’ in April 1998 followed by Mohammad Jindran in June 1998 and they shot Majeed Khan on 1 March 1999 dead.
The Shiv Sena, which ruled Maharashtra in a coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from 1994 to 1999, was speculated to have sympathized with Chhota Rajan. They reported that selective police action against the Ibrahim crime syndicate during the Shiv Sena administration and its subsequent decline through encounter killings helped strengthen Chhota Rajan’s position in the underworld. The Shiv Sena laid bare its affection for Chhota Rajan in an editorial in the Saamana newspaper, its mouthpiece, edited by Bal Thackeray. The editorial heaved a sigh of relief, attributing Chhota Rajan’s survival to “good fortune” resulting from divine grace.
In 2016, Rajnath Singh made a similar statement. He said they will nab Dawood soon and be brought back to India on any condition. This annual statement-making on Dawood continued for the third year when Rajnath Singh on February 4, 2017, said that nabbing fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who is supposed to be hiding in Pakistan, was just a matter of time. While the government was making repeated statements of bringing back Dawood, in September news agencies reported that Dawood’s wife had visited Mumbai in 2016.
The Police said, quoting the fugitive gangster’s brother Iqbal Kaskar, that Mehjabin Shaikh had visited Mumbai to meet her father in 2016. BJP was in power in Maharashtra. Kaskar was nabbed by the Mumbai police and held in an extortion case. After meeting her father Salim Kashmiri and other family members who live in Mumbai, Mehjabin Shaikh quietly left the country with nobody knowing anything. While the Modi government was boastful about its commitment to bring back Dawood to India, they failed to trace his wife.
Nobody knows whether Dawood is alive or dead. Recently, a Pakistani reporter reported that Dawood and his wife tested positively for COVID. Since Modi came to power, he visited Pakistan frequently, but never negotiated with Dawood. Narendra Modi blatantly failed on his promises of bringing back Dawood but his party leaders created unrest in state politics linking the state leaders with Dawood.
Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar had given several addresses used by Dawood in the country. If later Ram Jethmalani had to be believed, Dawood wanted to return to India and was negotiating a settlement with the BJP-led government at the centre. Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena supremo Raj Thackeray made the sensational claim. He said Dawood Ibrahim is now very sick and crippled. He is very keen to return to India and breathe his last in his motherland.
Pakistan consistently denies that they hold the global terrorist up there. But bringing him back is nearly impossible because Dawood is under protecting Pakistan’s ISI. If this is to be believed a direct attack by Indian intelligence on ISI stronghold will force them to show their power on Indian soil. This will be done to ascertain their masses of ISI’s efficacy. This will start a vicious circle which the Indian governments try to prevent at any cost. Moreover, India lacks political willpower. That’s the reason we still cannot nab Dawood. We keep on blaming RAW and IB for this but never realize that these government agencies are helpless, due to the political leadership. Not everyone can be like Indira Gandhi or Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Back in 2005 IB chief made a plan with some senior IB officials to assassinate Dawood Ibrahim during his daughter’s marriage in Dubai. A professional shooter and a member of the Chhota Rajan team,” Vicky Malhotra” was contacted. Somehow Dawood came to know this whole plot; Vicky was on the wanted list of Mumbai police. Mumbai police got information about Vicky’s stay in Delhi. Mumbai police arrested him from Delhi and it washed this whole covert plan out, just before execution. This golden opportunity slipped from the agency’s hand to assassinate Dawood just because of a lack of coordination between intelligence and security forces.