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The arrest of Iqbal Kaskar could blow the lid off an alleged underworld politician nexus

The arrest of Iqbal Kaskar, the younger brother of global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, could blow the lid off an alleged underworld-politician nexus in Thane. According to Thane Police, there are indications that political figures, including corporators, are hand-in-glove with Mr. Kaskar and others accused in the case.

On Tuesday, a court remanded all three accused in police custody for eight days.

Mr. Kaskar was picked up from his sister Haseena Parkar’s residence late on Monday by the city police. He and two others have been arrested for allegedly demanding Rs 30 lakh from a Thane-based builder, as well as four flats in one of his projects on Ghodbunder Road. Police said according to the complaint filed by the builder, they had demanded more. All demands were made in Dawood’s name.

The co-accused have been identified as Mumtaz Sheikh and Israr Ali Sayyed. Meanwhile, Haseena’s brother-in-law Iqbal Parkar and Yasin Khwaja Hussain, an alleged drug dealer, were also detained and are being questioned.

On Tuesday, Thane Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh said, “We have information that the accused targeted several others in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane. We are in touch with central intelligence agencies to verify if Dawood is involved. We might also seek help from the Enforcement Directorate and are examining grounds for invoking the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.”

According to the FIR registered at Kasarwadavali police station, the complainant has claimed that shortly after his building project was announced in 2013, Mr. Kaskar contacted him through the co-accused and demanded four flats and ₹30 lakh in cash from him. After several threats, the complainant agreed and the ownership of one of the flats was transferred to Mr. Sheikh, while the other three were sold and the proceeds divided between Iqbal, Mr. Sheikh and Mr. Sayyed.

“Mr. Sheikh is a real estate agent and was supplying information to Mr. Kaskar about builders and their activities. The latter was also running similar rackets in Mumbai; we are working on identifying his accomplices,” a Thane Police officer said.

Mr. Kaskar is allegedly looking after Dawood’s real estate business in Mumbai, and was running an extortion racket with the help of some builders and local politicians in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane. Police are also verifying if he was running a narcotics racket as he was with Mr. Hussain in the Nagpada residence. They said said as some threat calls were made to builders from outside the country, hawala links are being investigated with the ED’s help.

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