Saturday, October 9, 2010

DAWOOD CLAN - Underworld's first family

Mateen Hafeez | October 9, 2010

MARRIED TO THE MOB: Dawood Ibrahim (left) and his family keep a tight hold over their empire of crime

MARRIED TO THE MOB: Dawood Ibrahim (left) and his family keep a tight hold over their empire of crime

It's a notorious first, but nonetheless a first. The second generation of Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar's family has now entered crime, making theirs the First Family of Mumbai's Underworld. Dawood (56), started off alone in the 1970s, but six brothers and one sister of the family's dozen children are in the same 'line', with cases pending against them all. Joining the criminal brotherhood are Dawood's nephews, who have been arrested for kidnapping, extortion, and criminal conspiracy.

Going by police records and underworld whispers, Dawood, a dropout of Ahmed Sailor's High School at Nagpada, never expected his siblings to follow in his footsteps. Dawood started out by selling smuggled foreign goods through his electronics store. He entered police records for the first time in 1978, when he killed a vendor at Tardeo in south Mumbai.

Dawood and his siblings grew up in a 10x10-ft house on the first floor of an old chawl in Pakmodia Street. The son of a crime branch police head constable, Dawood spent his growing years roaming the streets with his friends. "His father beat him often and this dulled his fear of the law, " says an observer who has closely watched Dawood, who is now third on the Forbes' Most Wanted Fugitives list after Osama bin Laden and Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman.

"As teenagers, Dawood and brother Anees Ibrahim formed a gang - the beginnings of the 'D-company' - in the Nagpada area and worked with small-time smugglers. Anees kept records and Dawood maintained relations with policemen, " says a former journalist.

Soon their network spread and Noor-ul-Haque alias Noora joined his brothers. "Noora was an aspiring poet and was often seen in newspaper offices asking editors to print his ghazals. But he could not survive as a poet and chose to get into 'business' with his brothers, " say sources. The murder of Dawood's brother, Sabir, by a rival gang, enraged the family and the rest of the brothers joined Dawood to take revenge. They had the suspect, Ameerzada, shot inside court. A terror in the underworld, Ameerzada succumbed on his way to hospital. This forced the police to issue warrants against the brothers. In the early '80s, Dawood forced the then don, Karim Lala, to cede territory after killing Lala's nephew, Samad Khan, and became the undisputed don of the Mumbai underworld.

In 1983, police commissioner Julio Ribeiro's team raided Dawood's house but he escaped. He fled to Dubai and his brothers followed. They haven't returned since. The family is involved in narcotics, smuggling, contract killing, land grabbing and money laundering. Dawood is suspected of having masterminded the 1993 Bombay blasts, as well as funding the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He is said to have links with bin Laden.

In 2003, Dawood's younger brother Iqbal Kaskar was deported from the UAE and tried in India for land-grabbing and murder. He was acquitted and now lives in Mumbai.

Dawood's younger sister, Haseena Parkar alias Haseena Aapa, was arrested by the Mumbai crime branch a few years ago in an extortion case, but was acquitted. She entered the criminal world after her husband, Ismail Ibrahim Parkar, was killed by Arun Gawli's gang in 1991.

Ismail used to 'settle' business disputes for a commission. After his death, Haseena took on her husband's clients, getting land 'vacated' for developers. Dawood is reportedly unhappy with Haseeena's involvement, and has told her to stay out. Whatever the disagreements, it hasn't stopped GenNext from joining the business. It's all in the family.

The Times of India (Crest edition, October 9-October 15)

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