Mumbai: In what could be a major blow for the infamous D-Company, reports have surfaced that Dawood Ibrahim’s trusted lieutenant Chhota Shakeel is dead.
The development was reported by Hindustan Times, which has in its possession an audio clip of a conversation between a member of Shakeel’s gang, Bilal, and a Mumbai-based relative of Shakeel to the same effect.
However, the veracity of the clip has not been confirmed as yet. Top officials in the National Security Council Secretariat in New Delhi and Mumbai Police said they were not in a position to either confirm or deny this.
According to the report, Shakeel, 57, died on January 6 in Islamabad, where he had gone for a meeting with members of an organisation called Odessa.
He reportedly suffered a heart attack and was rushed by his bodyguards to the Combined Medical Hospital in Rawalpindi by air, where he was declared dead upon arrival.
According to another theory reported by the newspaper, Pakistan’s ISI used Odessa to kill him, since it was becoming increasingly difficult to deal with him.
The report also said that Dawood was informed about Shakeel’s death two days after it happened. The Don was apparently devastated after hearing this news and had to be admitted to the hospital in late January, and, again, in March.
Sources told HT that the ISI wanted to keep Shakeel’s death a secret and continue to use his virtual presence to broker deals. According to them, Shakeel had facilitated this virtual presence himself, by training a Pakistani national called Rahim Merchant a.k.a Doghla (two-faced) to impersonate him and mimic his voice.
Merchant is the one who has been calling up businessmen and media houses for close to two decades – ever since Shakeel’s ISI-enabled entry into Pakistan from the United Arab Emirates.