Indian police last week arrested Hassan Ali Khan, who was wanted for investigations into money laundering and other illicit activities, and who is also said to have ties to Dawood Ibrahim, the underworld kingpin who evidence indicates was the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last month.
Ibrahim is also alleged to have close ties with both Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency and the CIA.
Another character linked to the CIA whose name is now beginning to figure into the web of connections between the Mumbai attacks, criminal organizations, and intelligence agencies is Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, of Iran-Contra infamy. Khashoggi has been implicated in arms deals with drug traffickers and terrorist groups, including within India.
Dawood Ibrahim is a known major drug trafficker whom India claims is being protected by Pakistan. As Foreign Policy Journal previously reported, there are also some indications that the CIA has a similar interest in preventing Ibrahim from being handed over to India. Ibrahim is wanted by India for the recent Mumbai attacks as well as for bombings that occurred there in 1993.
Ibrahim is a native of India who rose through the ranks of the criminal underworld in Bombay (now Mumbai). According to media reports in India, he got his start as an undercover informant for the police at a young age and thus has an intimate knowledge of Indian law enforcement and intelligence, and is alleged to have fostered close ties with individuals within the political system.
Another known associate of Ibrahim’s in Mumbai, Mohammed Ali, is suspected of assisting the terrorists, who were met by an individual in Uran before continuing on to Mumbai, where inflatable rubber dinghies had been arranged to take them ashore by the same individual. Numerous earlier press accounts indicated that the dinghies, along with other logistical assistance, were provided by an associate of Ibrahim’s.
The Times of India, for instance, reported on November 28 that according to police sources the Mumbai attack “was enabled by the Dawood Ibrahim gang”, and that “It would not have been possible to carry out a terror operation on this scale without a collaborative local network and this was provided by the D Gang. As the terrorists had entered via the sea, the needle of suspicion is clearly pointing at Mohammed Ali, the new poinstman of Dawood.”
Yet Indian news reports indicate that officials have been slow to act against Hassan Ali Khan, and Mohammed Ali continues smuggling operations out of Mumbai for Ibrahim’s crime syndicate, D-Company, completely unmolested by Indian investigators and law enforcement.
As the November 28 Times of India article observed, Ali “is known to indulge in smuggling of diesel, petroleum, naptha, drugs and arms with impunity and it appears that the terrorists had used his networks to enter the city by the sea route…. Despite having a detailed dossier on him, the authorities have not taken any action against him. What is more worrying is that Ali is believed to have also penetrated naval intelligence.”
A further report from the Times of India on December 4 noted that Dawood Ibrahim is “sitting pretty in Karachi” under the protection of Pakistan and his “hawala channel between Mumbai and Karachi remains busy”. “But central agencies question why the Maharashtra government has not taken any action against the D-company here.”
“‘What’s the point of asking Islamabad to hand over Dawood when we’re not doing anything to destroy his empire in Mumbai and other places in India?’ a senior official asked.”
The article observed that Mohammed Ali “continues to operate with impunity.
Again, on December 11, Times of India reported that “Mumbai police has still not called Ali for questioning”, adding that “Ali is also known to have the backing of two powerful politicians of south Mumbai and that could be the reason why he is still untouched.”
In addition to links to Ibrahim, both men are also alleged, like Ibrahim himself, to have ties to political officials in India, and there are numerous other indications emerging that the attacks were assisted by elements within India being protected by the political establishment.
Hassan Ali Khan
India’s Daily News & Analysis reported last week that it appears Hassan Ali Khan “was part of a multi-crore [Indian numerical unit equivalent to ten-millions] hawala syndicate racket and may have joined hands with the organized crime operated by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. He is also suspected to have funded terror organizations.”