US slaps sanctions against Chhota Shakeel, Tiger Memon (Lead)

May 16th, 2012 - 10:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington/New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) The US has slapped sanctions on Chhota Shakeel and Ibrahim Tiger Memon, two top aides of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, the alleged mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai bombings that left over 250 dead, in a move “to target the nexus of crime and terrorism in South Asia”.

The US move was Wednesday welcomed by India, which stated that narco-terrorism is a threat to itself and the global community. It also asked Pakistan, without naming it, not to harbour these men, but to bring them to justice.

The US treasury department Tuesday designated the two as narcotics traffickers citing their ties to “D Company,” which it called “one of the world’s most notorious criminal organisations” that is run by kingpin Dawood Ibrahim, believed to be currently residing in Pakistan.

As a result of the US sanction, Shakeel and Memon will have any of their assets under US jurisdiction frozen. In addition, US citizens are prohibited from entering into transactions with the pair.

“Treasury continues to target the nexus of crime and terrorism in South Asia with today’s action against one the world’s most notorious criminal organisations,” said Adam Szubin, director of the treasury’s office of foreign assets control, in a statement.

“I think they are designated as significant narcotics traffickers. We welcome any such designation because it is a reaffirmation of what we have been always saying that narco-terrorism is a threat not only to India but to the world beyond,” India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here.

“Any designation of this sort indicates that there is an interest well beyond India to bring these people to justice. Also, we would also urge that those countries who may harbour any of these should bring them to justice,” Akbaruddin said in response to a query from reporters on the US sanctions against the two.

According to the treasury, Dawood Ibrahim’s lieutenant Shakeel coordinates “D Company” activities with other organised-crime and terror organisations.

And Memon, a “trusted lieutenant”, controls the organisation’s businesses across South Asia and is wanted by Indian authorities for his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai bombings, it said.

Interpol has issued provisional arrest warrants or “red corner notices” for both Shakeel and Memon, who are Indian nationals.

As “D Company” leader, Dawood Ibrahim was named as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in October 2003, and in June 2006, he was named by the president as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker.

The treasury said Dawood Ibrahim and his organisation have been involved in international narcotics trafficking activities since the late 1980s. Their smuggling routes include South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

Drug trafficking activities of “D Company” include the smuggling of heroin and hashish from Afghanistan and Thailand to the US, Western Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa.

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