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Even as Minister of State (Home) Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary told Parliament on Tuesday that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim “has not been located so far”, home ministry sources told The Indian Express that at least 10 bank accounts in Pakistan which are linked to Dawood and al Qaeda have been identified.
“We have identified at least 10 bank accounts operational in Pakistan. We will be writing to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to build pressure on Pakistan to begin a clampdown on these accounts as they are financing terror activities here. The accounts belong to banned terrorist organisation al Qaeda as well as Dawood Ibrahim,” said a senior home ministry official.
Sources said the bank accounts were identified by intelligence agencies after following the circuitous money trail of hawala transactions. The Combating of Funding of Terrorist Cell, which functions under the MHA, tracks suspicious bank accounts and recommends a freeze on them.
In 2014, the government ordered a freeze on at least six bank accounts that were suspected to be linked to terrorist activities. Since 2009, the government has cracked down on 55 such accounts.
Meanwhile, in a written reply to Parliament, Chaudhary said: “The subject (Dawood) has not been located so far. Extradition process with regard to Dawood Ibrahim would be initiated once the subject is located.”
In the past, the government has maintained that Dawood was living in Pakistan and sought his deportation.
Under attack for Chaudhary’s reply, home ministry officials later said that since 2012, New Delhi has given Islamabad three addresses which are suspected to be Dawood’s location: White House, near Saudi Mosque, Clinton, Karachi; House No. 37, 30th Street, Defence Housing Authority, Karachi; Property at Margalla Road, F 6/2 Street No. 22, House No. 29, Karachi. They said Dawood’s three passport numbers have also been given.
Officials said the previous UPA government had also given a similar reply. On May 7, 2013, the then MoS (Home) Mullapally Ramachandran had told the Lok Sabha: “The accused is wanted in Mumbai serial bomb blast of 1993 and a Red Corner Notice No. A0135/4-1993 is in existence. The United Nations Security Council has also issued a Special Notice No. U-65/4-2006 against him. The subject has not been located so far. Extradition process would be initiated once the subject is located.”
A senior home ministry official said the phrase, “subject not located so far”, has been used as they are unable to pinpoint the address.
Sources said Chaudhary held a meeting with Union Home Secretary L C Goyal where they discussed the modalities of briefing Parliament tomorrow. Officials sought to blame the reply on bureaucratic goof-up. They claimed the home ministry prepared the reply in consultation with the external affairs ministry.