The Gujarat Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested an aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and a key accused in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts late on Thursday night, an official said on Friday. Ahmed Shaikh, 52, a resident of Mumbai, was arrested from Pardi in Gujarat’s Valsad district. Acting on a tip-off, Gujarat ATS officials maintained a watch in the coastal area on Thursday night and subsequently arrested Shaikh. After verifying his identity, ATS officials took Shaikh to Ahmedabad. Shaikh, who had a red corner notice issued against him, will be handed over to the CBI in Mumbai as he was wanted by them.
Shaikh is accused of being part of a meeting organised by Dawood at his bungalow — White House in Dubai — to hatch a conspiracy to carry out a series of bomb blasts in 1993 in Mumbai. Along with Shaikh, a few others, identified as Salim Kutta, Yusuf Batka, Shoeb Baba, Saiyed Qureshi and Abubakar, were also present in the meeting at Dawood’s house, officials said. The officers also claimed that Shaikh underwent arms training in Pakistan and also learnt how to plant bomb in the vehicles at the behest of Dawood. The ATS has accused Shaikh of being part of the landing of ammunition, including AK 56, ignition device and RDX at Dighi jetty in Raigad district of Maharashtra. He is also accused of dispatching arms and ammunition to different people at different places.
The CBI had issued a lookout notice against Shaikh and the Interpol had issued a red corner notice against him. The CBI had announced Rs 5 lakh for any information or clue regarding Shaikh. Gujarat ATS SP Himanshu Shukla said, “Our local informer had given us a tip-off, following which our team caught Shaikh from Valsad. We have intimated the CBI Mumbai about him and they will arrest him after a couple of hours. Shaikh was staying in Dubai after the blasts. His wife and children live in Mumbai.”
ATS sources said that Shaikh also possesses two passports for travelling abroad. Before coming in contact with Dawood, Shaikh worked with Mustufa Majnu alias Mustafa Dossa, who was convicted for his role in the 1993 blasts by the TADA court in Mumbai after being extradited from UAE. Dossa died in June 2017 of chest infection while serving his term. The series of bomb blast in Mumbai on March 12, 1993 had killed over 257 people, injured 713 people and caused damage to property worth crores of rupees.