A Congressional report issued last week details links between international terrorism and transnational crime and refers to fugitive Indian gangster Dawood Ibrahim. Ibrahim's notorious D-Company, a criminal syndicate of 5,000 members operating in Pakistan, India, and the United Arab Emirates, is described as a prime example of the "criminal-terrorism fusion model."
The report claims that Ibrahim's poly-crime syndicate engages in crimes including extortion, smuggling, narcotics and contract killing. It has forged alliances with terrorist groups like al Qaeda and Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT). According to the Congressional Research Service report: "The D-Company's own terrorist endeavors, its deep pockets, and its reported cooperation with LeT and al Qaeda, present a credible threat to U.S. interests in South Asia."
The report further alleges that the "D-Company is believed to have both deepened its strategic alliance with the ISI and developed links to Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) in 2001." The Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, and Lashkar e-Taiba are believed to have been involved in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Ibrahim as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in 2003. Three years later, Ibrahim and his D-Company were designated by President George W. Bush as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (also known as the "Kingpin Act").
The son of a police constable, Ibrahim was born in Ratnagiri, an Indian port city on the Arabian Sea coast. A school-drop out, the Indian crime lord started as a low-level smuggler in Mumbai in the 1970s. By the 1980s and early 1990s, the report said, he became the leader of a multi-billion dollar crime syndicate involving prostitution, gambling, and drugs. The organization has also infiltrated Bollywood, the Mumbai-based Indian film industry "extorting producers, assassinating directors, distributing movies, and pirating films."
Indian authorities have accused Ibrahim of masterminding a series of bombing attacks in Mumbai in 1993 - allegedly with assistance from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI). The bombings, which included attacks on the Mumbai stock exchange, killed 257 people and injured hundreds more. Following the attacks, Ibrahim reportedly fled to Karachi, Pakistan. New Delhi has repeatedly asked Islamabad to hand him over with no success.
Ibrahim has also been implicated in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The sole surviving gunman in the attacks, Azam Amir Kasab confessed to authorities that he and nine other terrorists left the Pakistani city of Karachi for Mumbai on a merchant vessel owned by Ibrahim. The attacks left 183 people dead, including nine terrorists, and hundreds more injured.
The full Congressional Research Service Report can be read here.