Cracking of cases pertaining to firing incidents on the house of a businessman in North Kerala’s Kasaragod has led to the arrest of an Indian aide of underworld king Dawood Ibrahim, say police.
Police on Saturday had arrested Abdul Hameed alias Puttu, 40, on charges of conspiracy behind two incidents of firing at businessman M T Muhammed Kunji’s house in Kasaragod, which was attacked in 2010 and 2013.
Police sources said Hameed, 40, had been involved in fake currency racket in South India, and had been closely associated with K M Abdulla, a known Indian handler of Dawood’s counterfeit Indian currency business.
Besides, Hameed has links with fugitive criminal Ravi Poojari, who had allegedly made extortion calls to Bollywood stars demanding money. In 2006, Hameed, a native of Mangalore, was arrested by Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad after he was deported from Dubai in a fake currency case. Later, Hameed had undergone imprisonment in Bangalore after was convicted in a fake currency case.
Police said Hameed, while in Bangalore jail, had conspired Ravi Poojari and others to extort Rs 50 crore from Kunji. The businessman was targeted on the assumption that Shahanas Hamza, who was shot dead in Kasaragod in 1998 as a victim of rivalry between gold smuggling gangs, had handed over gold bars worth Rs 50 crore to Kunji.
Deputy police superintendent T P Ranjith, who has been tracking Hameed’s operations, said the conspiracy to extort money from Kunji had begun in 2008 while he was in Bangalore jail. “Hameed considered that the gold bars which Hamza had handed over to Kunji belonged to Dawood. After Dawood fled India, Hameed sought the support of Poojari and another underworld leader Kali
Yogesh, reportedly hiding in Gulf, to extort money from Kunji,’’ said the officer.
Hameed had assigned his relative Ali alias Munna to fire at Kunji’s house. The first incident of firing was in June, 2010. A few days later, Hameed made calls to Kunji demanding Rs 50 crore. As the demanded money did not come, Kunji’s house came under gunshots in 2013 as well. The family members had narrow escape in both incidents.
Police said the mobile phone call details of Hameed showed he was frequently in touch with underworld dons in abroad. Besides, extortion calls had gone to Kunji and others from the same phone used by Hameed.
Police said Hameed used to collect extortion money from several businessmen in Karntaka. “The gang was attempting to replicate the strategy in Kerala also. In fact, Hamza, who was murdered in 1998, had not handed over any gold as Hameed suspected. They were demanding extortion money based on a wrong information,’’ said the investigating officer.
The immediate factor that helped police reach Hameed was the last week’s arrest of his associate Ali alias Munna in Mangalore by Karnataka police. Based on the information given by Ali, police arrested Hameed.
Hameed’s immediate boss in Indian operations K M Abdulla was arrested in Colombo in 2007 in connection with a fake currency case of Rs 2.6 crore. In the same year, he was deported to India. He was the second accused in the sensational murder of Shahanas Hamza in 1998 in Kasaragod. Two years back, a CBI court convicted Abdulla for life imprisonment in the Hamza murder case.