A special court here on Friday remanded Salim Qureshi, a resident of the city, to the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) till August 17 on charges of aiding Dawood Ibrahim gang in terrorist activities. Qureshi, also known as ‘Salam Fruit’. According to the NIA, the fugitive gangster was a close associate of Chhota Shakeel. His lawyer claimed that he was being made a scapegoat for being “Shakeel’s relative”.
Qureshi was arrested on Thursday and produced before a special judge for NIA cases here on Friday. The Central Investigative Agency sought his 15-day remand, claiming that Qureshi had “connived Shakeel through property dealings and dispute settlement to raise terrorist funds for terrorist activities of D Company (Dawood Ibrahim gang).” Played an active role in collecting huge sums of money in the name.”
On February 3, the agency was tasked with dealing with “terrorist and criminal activities” such as trafficking, drug terrorism, money laundering, circulation of counterfeit currency, collection of terrorist funds and working in active cooperation with international terrorist organizations including Lashkar-e-Taiba. A case was registered regarding Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Al-Qaeda” by fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his associates.
Seeking Qureshi’s remand, the NIA told the court that it had raided 29 locations across Mumbai in May and recovered several incriminating documents related to illegal assets. It said that Qureshi threatened real estate developers in the name of Dawood gang and extorted crores of rupees from them. The NIA claimed that he gave ludicrous answers during interrogation and misled the investigators before his arrest.
Advocate Waqar Rajguru, appearing for Qureshi, opposed the remand request. The lawyer said the accused runs a medical shop in Byculla, south Mumbai and has no criminal background to substantiate the allegation of his being part of an extortion racket. He further said that there is no First Information Report or charge sheet pending against Qureshi which would reveal his links with the Dawood gang.
For two weeks, the accused was made to sit in the NIA office for several hours of interrogation every day, the lawyer said, adding that he cooperated with the investigation. He further said that Qureshi is being made a scapegoat due to his relationship with Chhota Shakeel. After hearing both sides, the court remanded the accused in NIA custody till August 17.
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