Operation D-gang: Anees is Mumbai cops’ target

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Corner fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim by targeting the aides of his brother, Anees, operating across the world – this is the new game plan of Mumbai’s crime branch, according to sources in the know of the development.

Here’s how they are going about with it: Less than two months ago, the crime branch got the custody of Danish Ali, Anees’s aide, from the United States (US). A couple of weeks ago, in a secret operation, crime branch sleuths arrested Ajju Rolex alias Azim Khan, another close aide of Anees, from his hideout in south Mumbai. Efforts are on to seek the custody of Sohail Kaskar, son of Dawood’s other brother Noora, from the US, and Altaf Hussain, another key aide of Anees, operating from Dubai.

Anees is wanted by the Mumbai police in connection with more than 24 cases of murder, extortion and drug smuggling. Sohail, who takes instructions from Anees, ran Dawood’s global drug syndicate with Danish’s help, sources said.

According to crime branch sources, Delhi resident Danish met Sohail in Dubai in the early 2000s. “Anees gave Sohail and Danish the task of collecting ransom from Indian businessmen in Dubai,” said a source. Later, Danish entered Russia on student visa and got involved in smuggling of diamonds with Sohail. The duo later turned to smuggling narcotics and arms. In 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) entrapped them in a deal to smuggle heroin to the US and supply missiles to Colombian rebels. The duo completed their sentences in a Manhattan jail in September 2018. After their release, the Indian authorities got Danish’s custody, who then gave them inputs on Khan and Altaf.

Sources said Dongri resident Altaf, 42, used to dabble in gold and narcotics smuggling before he fled to Dubai in 2002, fearing police encounter. He later joined Anees’s extortion business.

A senior crime branch official said an Indian hotelier was forced to leave Dubai after Altaf coerced him to pay 50,000 Dirhams on the instruction of Anees. The hotelier, from the western suburbs, came back to Mumbai and set up a hotel. After a lull of over 18 years, Anees started to demand a ransom of ₹50 lakh from him in 2018. On the hotelier’s complaint, the crime branch registered a case under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), with Anees as the prime accused, and Altaf and Khan as the co-accused.

Sources said Umerkhedi resident Khan earned the pseudonym Rolex after he opened a watch shop in Dubai in 2002-03. He joined Altaf later, through whom he got in touch with Anees.

Khan entered Mumbai 10 years ago, occasionally taking instructions from Anees over business deals. He was arrested in connection with an extortion case. “We hope to get Sohail’s custody soon. It will not only unravel Dawood’s network, but also help us crack down on the other members of Anees gang,” he said.