Africa’s blood diamonds are Dawood’s latest biz, intelligence agencies say – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Investigators working to identify underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s offshore assets have stumbled on a startling fact: The fugitive is now in the business of conflict diamonds.

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In a bid to freeze Dawood’s assets and hobble his operations, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had tasked intelligence agencies to pinpoint the don’s businesses. It is widely known that he has interests in real estate, money laundering and illegal financial services like hawala, betting and fake currencies.

The sleuths have found that the current focus of the D Company, as Dawood’s businesses are called, is to promote and expand the business of conflict diamonds in Africa and Dubai.

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Conflict diamonds are raw diamonds mined and sold by militants groups in African countries, particularly Angola, Sierra Leone and Congo, to “finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments”. These illegally mined stones are also called blood diamonds for the millions of civilian deaths caused by arms and ammunition that their sales have procured. They have largely been blacklisted in the diamond markets across the world.

Dawood’s numerous links to countries such as Zimbabwe and Kenya, among others, have been detailed in a dossier created by the investigators and which has been accessed by TOI. It also describes the manner in which the gangster’s syndicate acquires diamonds abroad and smuggles them into Dubai.

The dossier talks about a conduit called Rehmat, who appears to be Dawood’s pointman in Africa. Rehmat, who uses a mobile phone with an African number, hires African nationals, mostly women and young men, to act as couriers for Dawood’s diamonds. Rehmat is known to have tapped the existing couriers to identify those who could carry the diamonds to the don’s henchmen in Dubai.

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The intelligence investigators have established that Dawood has a Dubai-based company called Al Noor Diamonds which, they say, is a front for this illegal trade in blood diamonds. The probe has uncovered solid evidence to show how Rehmat ferries diamonds to Dubai from Africa on flights.

“On each trip, diamonds worth around 5 to 10 lakh US dollars are smuggled into Dubai and the African courier is paid 10,000 dollars as his courier fee,” reads the dossier.

In Dubai, a man named in the report as Feroze Oasis receives the stones and has them processed before putting them out on the market. “Feroze also handles Dawood’s other companies viz Oasis Oil and Lube LCC … He is a south Indian and speaks Tamil, Arabic, English and Hindi,” the dossier reads.

The investigators say Javed Chutani alias Doctor is the man who oversees the don’s operations and business in Dubai. “He was a bookie by profession with interests in real estate. His current gambling book is in the name of Kamran. Chutani also works as a bridge between Feroze, another associate Tariq Dubai and Dawood,” the dossier states.

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The agencies are now probing the Indian links of the syndicate which they suspect get active once the rocks are processed and ready to be sold. India is a major processor of diamonds; almost 10 of every 11 diamonds that are sold across the globe are cut and polished in the country.

The Indian security set-up believes that once it has control over Dawood’s offshore assets, it will be in a better position to take him on. But till date, only a half of his suspected assets have been identified. Work on determining the rest is currently under way.

READ ALSO: New calls show Dawood is in Pakistan