Quote: Asked why the ISI had roped in the D-Company in LeT activities, the official said, “The underworld’s penetration in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is very deep. Unquote
ISI reach will expand with D-Company merger’
MUMBAI: The merger of Dawood Ibrahim’s gang with the Lashkar-e-Toiba at the behest of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has Indian security agencies worried since the underworld gang will expand the ISI’s reach in the country.
“Many members of Dawood’s gang have been indoctrinated and trained in the use of weapons in the Bahawalpur centre of the LeT near Lahore. Funds are being raised by investments in real estate and SRA projects in Mumbai and through smuggling of diesel and other essential commodities through the western coast spanning from Raigad to Mangalore along the Arabian Sea. We have warned Delhi about the smuggling being carried out by the Dawood gang with impunity,” a security official said.
Asked why the ISI had roped in the D-Company in LeT activities, the official said, “The underworld’s penetration in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is very deep.
By synergizing the D-gang with the LeT, the ISI’s reach has increased manifold. An outfit like the Students’ Islamic Movement of India could not have provided the kind of reach which Dawood’s gang can provide.”
Government sources brushed aside the hope in certain quarters that the installation of a democratically-elected government in Pakistan would result in a decrease in LeT inspired violence since the ISI, which is heavily infiltrated by fundamentalist elements, is known to pursue its own agenda.
Lashkar takes over D-Company
28 Mar 2008, 0031 hrs IST,S Balakrishnan,TNN
MUMBAI: ‘D-Company’ is now officially part of the Lashkar-e-Toiba’s terror network, with Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) getting Dawood Ibrahim to merge his gang with the fundamentalist terror organisation as part of a gameplan to crank up its anti-India campaign.
Sources in Indian agencies tracking ISI’s moves confirmed the coming together of the two outfits and the danger that it poses to India.
“The underworld gang and the Lashkar jihadis have been knocked into a single entity and this has serious implications for India’s internal security,” a senior intelligence official told TOI on Thursday.
ISI’s links with D-Company are old, going back to 1993 when Pakistan’s external intelligence agency used Dawood and his henchmen to execute the March 12 terror attack on Mumbai in what marked the first instance anywhere of serial bombings. (TOI was the first to report the detention of Dawood, Chhota Shakeel and Tiger Memon by Pakistani authorities).
There has since been a shift in the dynamics of ISI-Dawood equations, reducing D-Company from being a useful ally to a group of individuals dependent on ISI to escape international law agencies.
Following the Mumbai blasts, Dawood along with his accomplices Chhota Shakeel and Tiger Memon fled to Pakistan. Pakistan has since shielded them from India and the new anti-terrorism sensitivities post-9/11 which saw Dawood being branded a global terrorist by the US.
But the hospitality has a tag attached to it: complete dependence for survival on ISI, which does not mind displaying its leverage vis-a-vis the once ruthless gang.
The merger will, inevitably, transform the character of Dawood’s gang, which did not display any communal tendency before the serial bombings aimed against members of a particular community.
In fact, many of their business partners were non-Muslims like Raj Shetty. Chhota Rajan was also a senior member of the gang before splitting in protest against the serial blasts triggered by Dawood, Shakeel and the Memons.
“The serial blasts were essentially a retaliation for the January 1993 communal riots. But now there is a qualitative change with D-Company becoming part of a jihadi organisation like the LeT. Earlier, this gang’s members were not religiously indoctrinated, but now they are. The motivation now is not money, but religion,” a senior official said.
The joining of ranks with Lashkar, one of the most dangerous terrorist outfits which treats “liberation” of large tracts of India from “Hindu domination” as its religious obligation, can help ISI to further its subversive agenda.
Stints with Lashkar camps can morph Dawood’s band of urban gangsters into well-armed and jihad-driven terrorists.
On the other hand, Lashkar benefits immensely from collaboration with D-Company which continues to attract recruits and has acquired financial muscle by venturing into mainstream commercial enterprises without letting go of its original money spinner, smuggling.