A special court on Friday remanded Salim Qureshi alias Salim Fruit, an alleged close aide of gangster Chhota Shakeel, in the custody of National Investigation Agency (NIA) till August 17 for allegedly aiding the terrorist activities of D-company. The NIA has also claimed that Fruit is a close associate of D-Company.
The NIA arrested Qureshi on Thursday for allegedly playing an active role in extorting huge amount of money in the name of Shakeel through property dealings and dispute settlements for raising terror funds in furtherance of terrorist activities of D-company.
However, his lawyer claimed that he was being made a scapegoat for being a "relative of Shakeel".
He was produced before the special court on Friday which remanded him to NIA custody.
The central agency sought Qureshi’s custody for 15 days contending that he played an active role in extorting huge amounts of money in Shakeel's name from property dealings and dispute settlements to raise “terror funds for terrorist activities of D company (Dawood Ibrahim gang)”.
While seeking Qureshi’s custody, the NIA argued that, in May, it had conducted raids at 29 places across Mumbai and recovered several incriminating documents pertaining to unlawful assets. Qureshi threatened real estate developers in the name of Dawood gang and extorted crores of rupees from them, said NIA.
Further, Qureshi gave evasive replies and misled the investigators during questioning before his arrest, the NIA claimed.
Qureshi’s advocate, Viquar Rajguru, opposed the remand application stating that he was being made a scapegoat for being related to Shakeel. He argued that Qureshi runs a medical shop in Byculla in south Mumbai and has no criminal background which could substantiate the charge of his being part of an extortion racket.
Besides, there is no First Information Report or charge-sheet pending against Qureshi to show his links with Dawood gang, added Rajguru.
Contending that Qureshi has been co-operating with the investigating agency, Rajguru said that for the past two weeks he was made to sit in the NIA's office for several hours each day for questioning.
Special court then remanded Qureshi to NIA custody till August 17.
On February 3, the NIA had registered a case pertaining to terror/criminal activities of the international terrorist network of D-Company who are indulging in arms smuggling, narco-terrorism, money laundering, circulation of FICN and are in unauthorised possession/involved in acquisition of key assets for raising terror funds and working in active collaboration with international terrorist organization including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Al Qaeda (AQ). Dawood and his associates including Haji Anees alias Anees Ibrahim Shaikh, Shakeel Shaikh alias Chhota Shakeel, Javed Patel alias Javed Chikna and Ibrahim Mushtaq Abdul Razzaq Memon alias Tiger Memon are being probed by the central agency.