Friday, March 19, 2010

Underworld to carry out the terror plan

The re-emergence of the underworld in the country has left Indian security agencies worried.

Though the arrest of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's aides Hamza and Mufti Obaidulla came as a big setback, the D-gang has persisted with the task of rebuilding its network in the country.

Intelligence Bureau officials told that there is a clear-cut change in the manner in which the underworld has been operating off late. Earlier, terror-related operations were specific to funds and logistics. However, the Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence has now specifically directed the underworld to re-create the 1993 scenario, which was entirely handled by the latter.

The likes of Kayub and Bashir Khan (Dawood's aides who allegedly helped execute serial blasts in Mumbai and who specialize in extortion) have been directed by the D-company to handle terror plots.

Following the several blasts in the country, the modules of Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Indian Mujahideen have gone underground. The ISI sensed that the modules were unable to operate as freely as they used to earlier following the arrest of several key persons by the Indian security agencies.

The ISI was clearly aware that the focus on the underworld operatives was much less when compared to the terror modules. IB officials say that the ISI has always managed to arm-twist Dawood to a large extent.

It is a known fact that he has been provided shelter and a safe route to carry out his narcotics trade with the blessings of the ISI. Currently, the D-gang is worth Rs 4000 crore only in terms of its narcotics trade and the ISI insists that at least 40 per cent of that amount is parted with to fund terrorism against India.

The Pune blast was the last incident carried out with the help of terror modules. The IB says that the ISI is not prepared to use any of the other modules in India for terror strikes for at least some time. Hence, they had planned on roping in the underworld to carry out more strikes. This would mean that even if there were a blast, the foot solider would be someone who is not part of the IM or the Lashkar. Instead, the men would be hired by the underworld and used in the mission.

The irony is that the interrogation of these men too would not yield many results, as they would be fresh in the business and would have no contact with any of the main perpetrators.

Kayub would pump in the funds from Dubai while Bashir would operate from Pakistan, cops say, adding that it was Bashir who had hired the two persons (identified as Abdul Latif Rashid and Riyaz Ali Imtiaz now in the custody of the ATS) to carry out strikes in Mumbai.

The IB says that this is a dangerous precedent since the D-gang network within India is far larger when compared to the IM or the Lashkar. Their men are the strongest in Maharashtra. However, there has been a major expansion and the gang is very much on the rise in Lucknow, Kerala and Mangalore.

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