Palghar: An associate of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim has been arrested in this district of Maharashtra, the police said Wednesday. Akhtar Kasamali Merchant (56) was arrested from Nalasopara area Tuesday, an official informed.
Inspector Mansing Patil of the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) said that Merchant has been associated with Ibrahim for a long time and worked for him. Later he set up his own gang and was wanted for several offences including extortion and kidnapping in Thane and Vasai-Virar belt.
A case under IPC sections 364(A) (kidnapping for ransom) and 384 (extortion) and provisions of the Arms Act was registered against Merchant at Naya Nagar police station in Thane district in 2018. He was on the run since then, and was suspected to have fled to Nepal and Bangladesh, Patil said.
Recently Merchant returned to Mumbai. After receiving a tip-off that he was back in Nalasopara area, a trap was laid and he was nabbed Tuesday near Civic Centre Chowk, the officer stated.
The ATS is sure that Merchant before his arrest was in contact with Ibrahim. Officials said that it is the gangster who had helped Merchant flee Mumbai and it is he who had helped Merchant in hiding in Nepal and Bangladesh. Police are hoping now that by checking the calls made by Merchant they can find out where Dawood Ibrahim is currently hiding.