Wanted for quarter of a century by the police in India, Farooq Takla is a big name in the underworld. An accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and a close aide of fugitive mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, he was finally arrested from Dubai, and can prove to be a big catch for India.
According to an Interpol Red Corner Notice issued against him in 1995, Farooq’s name at birth was Yasin Mansoor Mohamed Farooq. He was born in Mumbai on February 17, 1961. Interpol describes him as a person of “flabby build”, with “protruding eyes” set in an “oval face”. The 57-year-old apparently moves with a limp following a fracture in his left leg.
According to agencies, he was brought to Mumbai Thursday and whisked off to the CBI office for questioning. He will be produced before a special TADA court later in the day for remand.
Takla’s arrest comes two days after criminal lawyer Shyam Keswani said in Thane Dawood was reportedly willing to return to India and face trial, but the Indian government had rejected some of his preconditions.
The Dawood aide had fled the country after he was grilled by the CBI in connection with the 1993 blasts. At least 257 people were killed, over 700 injured and properties worth crores destroyed in the March 12, 1993, blasts.
Twenty-five years on, Takla was finally tracked to Dubai where he was believed to be holed up, and later deported to India by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities. Takla was brought back in an Air India flight in the early hours of Thursday, reports said.
Takla is said to have been the key man who managed Dawood’s international crime syndicate from Dubai. He was wanted in cases like extortion, murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Subramanian Swamy congratulated National Security Advisor Ajit Doval for the big catch. “We need to compliment NSA Doval for Farooq Takla coming in the CBI kitty. Dawood not far off?” Swamy tweeted.
NCP leader and senior criminal lawyer Majeed Memon said: “Fact he has returned, shows he has expressed his willingness to come back for trial. He’ll certainly be remanded to custody, there’s no question of bail being granted to him. Till next development he’ll be in jail.”
Senior Advocate Ujjwal Nikam termed the arrest a huge “success”. “This is a big blow to D-Gang,” said the public prosecutor in Ajmal Kasab case.