21 July 2012

Dawood Ibrahim uses shipbreaking business to smuggle drugs, arms

CHENNAI: Dawood Ibrahim and his aides have a major stake in the multimillion-dollar shipbreaking industry in India, according to an intelligence report by the ministry of defence.

The report says certain Pakistani nationals involved with the D-Company based in London and the UAE have a major stake in the country's shipbreaking industry, investing crores of rupees in the environmentally hazardous industry based in Alang, Gujarat. Intelligence sources said the Pakistani nationals fix deals by paying in hard cash with the collusion of corrupt local officials.

Intelligence agencies briefed an inter-ministerial committee in Delhi in February 2012 about the entry of Dawood's aides into the industry and the potential security threat implications, said sources in the directorate of naval intelligence.

D-Company men smuggle contraband, arms and explosives with the participation of foreign agents during their ship dismantling operations, the report says. Dawood's men use money laundering to fund the deals and many end-of-life vessels that arrive at the ship breaking yards in Gujarat simply disappear from anchorage after a short while.

Officials said the current system, which permits a free run to vessels carrying dismantling permits, has allowed entry to criminals.

"The system has to be regulated and every vessel should be thoroughly checked by the navy," said a senior naval officer. "MoD clearances have to be made mandatory for the entry of vessels for dismantling in India."

At present, ships bound to Alang are permitted to anchor anywhere for emergency repairs. "People from the underworld have a large stake in Alang ship-breaking deals," the officer said.

Shipping and marine security expert Veeresh Mallik said the shipbreaking industry is mostly funded by black money. "Apart from smuggling and activities that put national security at risk, many foreign-flagged vessels come to Alang and leave with forged registrations. Many such vessels have origins in safe havens for smuggling in the Persian Gulf and off the African coast," he said.

Gopal Krishna, a researcher on shipbreaking in India, said nearly 6,000 vessels have been dispatched to India for dismantling over the past two decades. "At least 120 vessels are now berthed in Alang," he said. The shipping ministry has warned states of serious action if they fail to keep a tab on the entry of toxic, end-of-life ships for dismantling.

Source: times of india. 16 July 2012

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