3 Dawood men held for planning to kill Shia cleric

Meerut : Three men said to be working for fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim were arrested from Bulandshahr for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to kill Wasim Rizvi, chairman of UP Shia Waqf Board in Lucknow.

Salim Ahmed Ansari (45), Aarif (38) and Abrar Ahmed (36), all Bulandshahr residents, were arrested by a team of Delhi Police’s special cell on Thursday. Officials said that in December last year, Salim had met a few associates of Chota Shakeel in Dubai, where he was “hired” to assassinate Rizvi.

“Salim was paid 3000 Dirhams (roughly Rs 53,000) to buy weapons. He came to India in March this year. The gang carried out a recce of Rizvi’s office in Lucknow, acquired weapons and was in the process of executing their plan,” Pramod Singh Kushwah, DCP, special cell, told TOI. On Friday, a Delhi court sent the three men to five-day police custody.

Meanwhile, the families of the accused cried foul and claimed that their kin have been wrongly arrested. “My husband had gone out to buy medicines on Thursday and did not come back. He is employed as an embroidery worker and has no criminal record. They have wrongly picked him up,” said Salim’s wife Rhuksana. The couple along with their children has been living in Bhur area under Kotwali police station in Bulandshahr.

However, local police claimed that Salim, the gang’s kingpin, has been involved in cases of loot and robbery in past. In 1992, he was arrested in a snatching case in Bulandshahr. He was again arrested in 1994 in two cases of robbery and loot.

“He also served a sentence in Arthur Road Jail for robbery in Mumbai,” Kushwah said. According to officials, both Aarif and Abrar have also served jail term in a case of attempt to murder.

Following the arrest, Rizvi has written to Prime Minister Narendra seeking more security for him. The Shia Waqf Board chief has said that he is being targeted by terrorists because of his stand on Ram Mandir. “I have been raising the issue of constricting a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and extremists are trying to stop me. I have learnt that some members of Muslim organizations and religious bodies in India are hand in glove with Dawood and have been plotting my assassination,” Rizvi said.

Citing an intelligence input, Rizvi claimed that the two personnel assigned to him are not enough and that his personal security needs to be beefed up in the wake of the threat to his life.

In January this year, Rizvi had claimed that he had received a threat call on behalf of Dawood after his alleged anti-madrasa statement. An FIR was lodged into the matter at Saadatganj police station in Lucknow.

Source : TOI

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