Chhota Shakeel could target Qasab
A sensitive interception by RAW hints at the possibility of the underworld targetting Qasab during his trials
A sensitive interception by Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) hints at the possibility of underworld targetting Lashkar-e-Toiba operative Mohammed Ajmal Qasab's during trials in Mumbai.
Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Deven Bharti pleaded ignorance about RAW's interception. Bharti, however, did not rule out the possibility. "It is very logical that Qasab could be targeted," added Bharti.
According to Bharti, security measures have been at its highest and all necessary precautions have been taken. The interception, which took place around January 29, was discussed at the National Security Council meeting the following day. An alert has been sounded to Mumbai police.
Details of the interception point to the involvement of gangster Dawood Ibrahim's right hand man Chhota Shakeel, who has been apparently asked to prepare the blueprint of the attack on Qasab. Shakeel is known to have a very powerful network of front line shooters in South Mumbai, particularity around Dongri. He also controls sections of Arthur Road jail.
At least eight members of his gang are under the scanner of the Crime Branch after they were released on bail last year. His brother Anwar holds sway over Mira Road and adjoining areas.
A senior Crime Branch official said Shakeel or Pau Takla, as he is known in underworld circles, is on the fringe of religious fanaticism. It is relatively easy for the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence senior operatives to motivate him into carrying out the attack. However, there are reasons to believe that the plot may fail. The Crime Branch has been successful in planting dozens of moles in D Company.
Dawood on the other hand prefers to lie low. More so, after he was declared a Global Terrorist in 2005. The Pakistani government too has been pleading ignorance about Dawood's presence in the country. Dawood and his second-in-command Shakeel are highly obligated to the ISI officials, who have provided the duo and other members of the gang, a safe sanctuary there.
The government is concerned about Qasab's safety during the forthcoming trials. High-profile prisoners Abu Salem and Mustaffa Dossa at Arthur Road jail are already adding to their worries. Crime Branch officials said the government is looking for a safe place where Qasab could be tried. Three to four places have been shortlisted for the purpose, Maria pointed out.
Qasab is presently guarded 24/7 by a sub-inspector and two constables inside a prison cell. Two armed policemen take position outside the cell and entry to the Crime Branch is restricted.