National Investigation Agency picks Chhota Shakeel’s brother-in-law

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The National Investigation Agency on Friday arrested two persons, including the brother-in-law of Dawood Ibrahim’s close aide Chhota Shakeel, as part of its probe into the operations of the D-Company. Seeking their custody till May 20, the agency told a special NIA court that it would try to locate Dawood and Shakeel with the help of the arrested duo.

The two men have been identified as Shakeel relative Arif Abubakar Shaikh, alias Arif Bhaijaan, and his brother Shabbir Abubakar Shaikh. Both were picked from Oshiwara. In the court, the media was not allowed to attend the hearing. 

Sources said the court asked Arif Shaikh if he faced any ill-treatment at the hands of the agency. “Apne desh se bahut pyaar hai,” Arif told the court before chanting “Saare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara”.

As per the documents submitted by the NIA to the court, the agency has recovered a lot of cash and incriminating papers from the custody of the accused establishing their close links with Dawood and Shakeel. The case diary carries statements of witnesses showing the transfer of huge amounts from the D-Company to the two accused brothers. The agency said it seized Arif and Shabbir’s mobile phones after it found details of communication with D-gang members holed up in a neighbouring country. The agency said the communication could help it ascertain the locations of Dawood and Shakeel. 

Since there were no lawyers to represent the accused, Amicus Curie Ld. Advocate Apeksha Vora told the court that their custody was not necessary just to trace Shakeel and Dawood. That could be done even with the help of Interpol or similar institutions, Vora said. However, the court said, “The submission of investigating agency about the involvement of the accused on the backdrop of available material on record is found sustainable. The alleged D-Company is involved in global terrorism as well as in the commission of scheduled offences as per accusations. Therefore, personal confrontation and interrogation with the accused persons is required for digging out the roots of the present matter. The investigating agency is thus entitled to seek the custody of present accused persons for a fateful investigation.”

Stressing that there are multiple witnesses in the case and there is a threat to their lives, NIA also requested the court to truncate their statements and not disclose their personal details.

Who is Arif Shaikh?

Arif Shaikh was deported from Dubai in 2006 in connection with the murder of the then Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya in 2003. He was acquitted and kept a low profile till he was booked in an extortion case by the Mumbai police in 2016. Sources said when the underworld called the shots in Mumbai, Arif was the operation in-charge of Shakeel in India. Now, the federal agency claims that he is one of the main persons involved in the financing of the D-gang from the western suburbs. 

Originally published at www.mid-day.com

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