Underworld don's close aide caught

Boss Ejaz Lakdawala said to be hiding in Canada

The main handler of Mumbai underworld don Ejaz Lakdawala’s network in north India has been arrested in north-west Delhi.

Uttar Pradesh-based Mohammad Yusuf alias Mian was given a contract to kill two businessmen in Mumbai and one in Delhi, police said on Wednesday.

Police suspect Lakdawala is hiding somewhere in North America and frequently shifts base to South East Asia as well. Lakdawala used to be a close aide of wanted terrorists Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan. He, however, parted ways to set up his own underworld network. He targets the Bollywood film industry and businessmen for extortion.

On interrogation, Yusuf told police that he came in contact with Lakdawala’s henchmen in Mumbai in 2014.

“Through them, he came in contact with Lakdawala,” said Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav.

Yusuf, who hails from UP’s Bareilly district, remained in contact with Lakdawala through voice over internet protocol calling (VOIP) and several international numbers of different countries.

Lakdawala initially tasked Yusuf to arrange for sharpshooters, who were then hired from Punjab.

“Yousuf entered crime as a drug trafficker and a gunrunner in 2005 and was in close contact with criminal elements in Punjab. He roped in sharpshooter Sonu for carrying out contract killings assigned to him,” Yadav added.

In 2014, Lakdawala told Yousuf to target the owners of a well-known sweets shop in Mumbai and a top builder of Borivali in Mumbai.

Sonu along with his accomplices went to Mumbai, but failed to execute the tasks despite repeated attempts.

“The gang attempted to shoot the targets, but they failed to get a clear opportunity or their weapons misfired. Since they feared getting spotted, they returned to Punjab,” said Yadav.

Sonu along with accomplice Nikka also recceed the residence and factory of a Delhi-based industrialist. They were waiting for instructions when Sonu was arrested in a case of drug trafficking by Punjab Police.

He is presently lodged at a jail in Punjab’s Kapurthala district. Due to Sonu’s arrest, the contract killings were put on hold.

Yousuf was arrested after Delhi Police Crime Branch received information that Lakadawala was trying to extend his tentacles to north India. The information was further developed and it was ascertained that the main handler, Yousuf, was based in western UP.

On March 18, specific information was received that Yousuf would come to north-west Delhi’s Mukarba Chowk to meet an accomplice.

“A trap was laid and Yousuf arrested with a pistol. A case under Indian Penal Code and Arms Act has been registered with Crime Branch police station,” Yadav said.

In May 2003, Lakdawala was rumoured to have been killed when Dawood’s gang members, angered by his allegiance to Chhota Rajan, opened fire at him in Bangkok.
He, however, survived and moved to Canada. He is involved in over 20 cases of extortion, attempt to murder and rioting.

Two sharpshooters of Lakdawala – Sanjay Gautam and Sanjay Thakur – were also shot at in a shoot-out with Mumbai Police in 2013.

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