|500 kg gold smuggled in just 45 days!|
|Tuesday, October 03, 2006 | Lead Story|
|Salem aide says he brought in the gold through Delhi airport and was ‘escorted out safely’ by a Customs official|
|The hunt is on for a Customs official who allegedly helped a key Abu Salem aide, Mohammed Akmal Mohammed Umar Ansari alias Guddu, to smuggle in a staggering 500 kgs of gold from Dubai to Delhi in just 45 days.
Guddu, arrested by Oshiwara police last week, has sensationally claimed that he made 50 trips to Dubai in those 45 days in 1998-’99, and was “escorted” out of Delhi airport every time with the consignment by a Customs official. The same official then put him up at a Delhi hotel and even regularly provided him a ‘return ticket’ to Dubai to get a new consignment, Guddu has told his interrogators.
Police say Guddu’s revelations will be instrumental in shedding light on Salem’s fugitive years and his business empire.
Giving details of his modus operendi, Guddu has said that after arriving at Delhi airport, he had “instructions” to keep his bag open at the waiting lounge. Once he did that, an ‘unknown’ person would keep American currency in the bag as ‘reward’ for the smuggling and disappear, he has said.
Additional police commissioner (western region) Bipin Bihari confirmed that Guddu had made these claims and said they were being verified.
Inspector Dilip Patil of Oshiwara police station said Guddu and another Salem aide Jamir Ahmed Mohammed Yakub Noor Mohammed Siddiqui, caught when trying to rob a bank in Oshiwara, were a “prize catch.” While Guddu knew everything about Salem’s smuggling activities during the gang’s most active period the late 90s — and was wanted for the murder of Chhota Shakeel and Chhota Rajan men, Siddiqui was the man who had shot at film-maker Rakesh Roshan and threatened Adlabs owner Manmohan Shetty in the year 2000, Patil said.
In late 1999, Salem discontinued smuggling and asked Guddu to stay put in Mumbai along with Siddiqui to carry on his extortion business, Guddu has told his interrogators.
After he arrived in Mumbai in ’99, Patil said, Guddu bumped off several informants of rival gangs, namely Shakeel man Iqbal Chunawala (at D N Nagar), Chhota Rajan’s real estate agent Iqbal Langda (at Mahim), another Rajan man Babu Bhaiyya (at Trombay) and one Munna at Shivaji Nagar.
Siddiqui in turn, acting on his boss’s directives, shot at Rakesh Roshan and threatened Manmohan Shetty before escaping from the custody of the Mumbai crime branch in 2000.
Guddu too jumped the bail the same year and both went into hiding for nearly five years before re-entering Mumbai recently, police sources said.
500 kg gold smuggled in just 45 days! Salem aide says he brought in the gold through Delhi airport and was ‘escorted out safely’ by a Customs official