The Dawood Ibrahim gang, reportedly supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has escalated its narco-terrorism operations in India. Security agency sources reveal that the recent confiscation of 2,525 kg of pure methamphetamine, valued at ₹25,000 crore, off Kochi's Mattancherry coast is just a small portion of their activities. The massive drug shipment was sent to India by Haji Salim, a close associate of Dawood, who resides in Karachi under the protection of the ISI. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the Indian Navy carried out a joint operation to uncover the drugs, which were concealed in 134 large pouches. The contraband was transported from a mother ship docked off the coast of Balochistan to Kochi, with plans for smuggling it into Kerala by a mafia group with strong political connections. In addition to Haji Salim, Kailash Rajput, a key member of Dawood's drug syndicate, played a significant role in the Kerala operation. Rajput is believed to be in London, but extradition efforts have been unsuccessful thus far.
Security vulnerabilities at Mundra port make it favoured destination
In a separate incident on September 13, 2021, over 2,900 kg of drugs worth ₹21,000 crore were seized from a container at Mundra port, owned by the Adani Group. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested 16 individuals, including some Afghans, but the mastermind behind the operation remains unknown. This large-scale consignment was also traced back to the D Gang, transported from Iran's Bandar Abbas port. Despite a previous drug seizure at Mundra port in July 2022 worth around ₹350 crore, security vulnerabilities continue to persist. Mundra remains a favoured port for Dawood Ibrahim. The NIA's chargesheet in the 2021 case revealed that funds generated from drug sales were intended to finance the activities of the Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The funds from the foiled smuggling attempt in Kochi were also earmarked for LeT's terror operations in the southern state. Sources indicate that Dawood no longer operates as an underworld gang leader, but rather heads a full-fledged terrorist organization.
US withdrawal of Motiwala's extradition deals big blow
Security agencies have noticed a consistent pattern in the operations of Dawood's criminal empire. In February 2022, the NCB seized 525 kg of hashish, 220 kg of methamphetamine, and 13 kg of heroin off the Gujarat coast. Another significant seizure occurred in October 2022, with around 200 kg of pure heroin found near the Kerala coast. Surprisingly, the ongoing turmoil in Pakistan has not hindered Dawood's drug smuggling activities. In fact, he achieved a major victory when the US government withdrew its request for the extradition of Jabir Motiwala, a close associate of Dawood involved in the drug trade. This unexpected turn of events has left NCB sources perplexed, as the US administration had been persistent in seeking Motiwala's extradition. Motiwala and his associates have reportedly resumed their significant involvement in the drug business, assisting Dawood in expanding his drug empire deep into India. A senior security official expressed concern, stating that unless a comprehensive crackdown on the Dawood gang is initiated, it will be challenging to curb their drug smuggling activities in India.
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