Devesh K. Pandey

NEW DELHI: Having arrested four alleged conduits of the underworld don Chhota Shakeel for their involvement in the murder of the brother of a Bajrang Dal leader last year, the Special Cell is now in search of the don's "right-hand", Tariq, the man said to be behind several assassinations and anti-national activities. Tariq's involvement in subversive activities came to light when the Delhi police learnt about the plan of Chhota Shakeel, the trusted lieutenant of the Pakistan-based don, Dawood Ibrahim, to trigger blasts in the Capital way back in 1997. Investigations revealed that Chhota Shakeel contacted Tariq, who then lived in the Ghatkopar area of Mumbai, to make arrangements for two houses and a scooter in Delhi and provide "material (RDX)" to a man who was being sent from Dubai.

At the instance of the underworld don, Tariq -- with the help of his accomplice, Maqsood Ahmed's relative -- hired a house in Jheel Khureji in East Delhi and another at Khirki Gaon in South Delhi. Subsequently, he received a consignment of 10 kgs of RDX. On a given date, Tariq, under a pseudonym, received Aijaz Ahmed near Sheela Cinema at Paharganj, where he had been staying in a hotel.

Aijaz also introduced himself by his pseudonym, after which he was taken to the Khirki Gaon house where he was provided with the explosives to prepare bombs, which had to be planted in a scooter and triggered off at a crowded place, as directed by Chhota Shakeel. However, the police got wind of the matter and mounted a raid there. Maqsood and Aijaz were arrested from the spot, while Tariq was arrested from Jheel Khureji at their instance. The accused remained in jail for about five years, but they were acquitted by the court. Tariq is the son of a retired teacher and hailsfrom Sultanpur in U.P.