The Thane police claimed Wednesday that Dawood Ibrahim aide Shakeel Shaikh alias Chhota Shakeel was involved in making threat calls to developers of disputed properties. Shakeel, a fugitive gangster, who left the country in the late 1990s, is believed to be operating out of Dubai. The police claimed that Shakeel was in touch with Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar and was part of the extortion racket that Kaskar has been arrested in connection with. The Thane police named Shakeel as one of the four wanted accused in the case, in addition to a Borivali-based financier, who, in the past, has been arrested in at least two murder cases and is known to run illegal matka dens.
“During investigations, we found that Shakeel, through his men, would identify developers of disputed properties and provide the information to Kaskar. Based on that we have named him as an accused in the case,” said an officer who is part of the probe. He added: “Apart from that, we have found the involvement of a Borivali-based person who financed the accused. He is known to have run matka dens and has been arrested in the past for murders.”
The officer said they had named two more men, both shooters from Bihar. “The two shooters have a prior criminal record and would be given shelter in Mumbra by Mumtaz Shaikh, an accused in the case, whenever they fled from Bihar after committing a crime,” he said.The police also claimed that they had information that the two shooters were, in the past, sent to property sites to intimidate developers who were not willing to strike a deal with Kaskar. “We heard that they have also fired at a few sites and are trying to verify the same,” an officer said.
On Wednesday, the police produced Kaskar, along with two other accused Mumtaz Shaikh and Israr Sayyed, after their police custody ended. In their remand application, the Thane police said names of four accused, including two from Bihar and one from Borivali, had come to the fore during interrogation of the accused. “We need to interrogate the accused further to get some more information about them,” senior inspector Pradeep Sharma told the court.
Defence lawyer Shyam Keswani said he did not have any problem if the police were seeking custody of the accused for four days. “However, the police should not be spoiling the reputation of the accused by giving information out in the media,” he argued. After listening to both sides, the court remanded the trio in police custody for four days.
An officer said they would in the next four to five days also make an application before the court that the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) be applied against the accused. “We have enough evidence to prove this worked as an organised gang and the same will be brought on record before the court,” said the officer.
The Thane police have so far received two extortion complaints against Kaskar and his aides, one filed by a builder and another by a jeweller. While the builder told the police that he had to give four flats and Rs 30 lakh to the accused, the jeweller said the three had forcibly taken jewellery worth Rs 15 lakh from his shop. Two FIRs have been registered against the three.