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Business News/ News / World/  Pakistan-based gangster Haji Salim, connected to Dawood, allegedly plotting LTTE revival
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Pakistan-based gangster Haji Salim, connected to Dawood, allegedly plotting LTTE revival

Indian agencies have discovered a connection between Karachi-based gangster Haji Salim and underworld figure Dawood Ibrahim, with Salim actively involved in efforts to revive the LTTE insurgent group in Sri Lanka and India.

A file photo of NIA officers. Photo: AFP (AFP)Premium
A file photo of NIA officers. Photo: AFP (AFP)

Indian agencies have discovered a connection between Haji Salim, a gangster based in Karachi, and the notorious underworld figure Dawood Ibrahim. They reveal that Salim is actively involved in endeavors to revive the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) insurgent group in Sri Lanka and India.

His key role involves the extensive smuggling of drugs and weapons.

As per a report by Hindustan Times,  operating as the mastermind behind a lucrative narcotics network spanning Pakistan and the Indian Ocean, Salim is frequently spotted at Dawood's residence on Clifton Road in Karachi. There are suspicions that both individuals mutually utilize each other's resources for smuggling activities. These operations are believed to receive active support from Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as per anonymous sources.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), the National Investigation Agency (NIA), and the Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence (DRI) are collaboratively engaged in identifying Indian associates of Salim and dismantling the entire criminal network connected to Ibrahim's D-Company. 

In a collaborative operation conducted recently, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the navy successfully confiscated a substantial quantity of high-purity methamphetamine weighing 2,500kg, valued at 12,000 crore. The drugs were sourced by intercepting a vessel commonly referred to as a "mother ship" in the Indian Ocean.

The shipment originated from the "death crescent," a term coined by India's Home Minister Amit Shah, which refers to the smuggling route encompassing Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The drugs were dispatched from the Makran coast in Balochistan province.

In a recent development, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a charge sheet last week against 13 individuals as part of an investigation into the revival of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) in India. “The accused used various foreign WhatsApp numbers to carry out the clandestine trade," it said.

“Even though D-Company’s network was eliminated by Indian agencies in the late 90s, it is possible his old contacts may be working with Salim’s syndicate as the drug trade via maritime and land route has exploded after Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. Salim has been seen at Dawood’s residence in Karachi and is protected by armed guards round the clock," said an officer, who didn’t want to be named.

According to an earlier report by HT on April 30, Salim collaborates with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba. He is responsible for supervising the smuggling operations to various destinations, including India, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and certain Middle Eastern countries. Salim's cartel is known to operate numerous covert laboratories in Balochistan. These facilities are involved in the packaging of heroin parcels originating from Afghanistan, which are often marked with distinct symbols or inscriptions such as '555', '999', 'Unicorn', and 'Dragon'.

Approximately 70% of drug trafficking in India occurs via maritime routes, with a significant portion attributed to the operations of Salim's network.

“The modus operandi used by Salim’s cartel is similar to that of D-Company’s in 90s, where exchange of contraband took place mid-sea from a mother boat (large vessels) to small fishing boats and dhows," said a second officer.

“The maritime drug trafficking in Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal poses new challenges to drug law enforcement agencies and they anticipate further increase of this route by international drug trafficking syndicates operating from Pakistan and Afghanistan," a special edition of NCB’s annual report 2022 said.

In order to strengthen the surveillance of Indian waters and combat drug trafficking, the government has allocated extra funds to agencies such as the NCB. As part of this initiative, suspected containers are now being subjected to 100% inspection at ports.

Additionally, the NCB has identified specific sites along international borders and inland areas where mobile vehicle scanners will be installed. Furthermore, the Ministry of Home Affairs is actively exploring technological solutions for scanning containers.

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Mausam Jha
A journalist covering International Relations, and Business.
Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
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Published: 25 Jun 2023, 12:11 PM IST
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