Chhota Shakeel rubbishes Rakesh Maria's allegations

Mumbai, Feb 19
Absconder mafiosi Chhota Shakeel on Wednesday rubbished contentions by former Mumbai top cop Rakesh Maria that fugitive mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar had allegedly been given a contract to kill the arrested terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab.

In a brief telephonic chat with a TV channel, Chhota Shakeel said, "all these are absolute lies" - referring to an extract from Maria's book, "Let Me Say It Now", as reported by IANS on Tuesday (February 18).

Maria has revealed that Dawood - who is a wanted accused in the March 1993 Mumbai serial attacks - had been assigned the task of killing Kasab by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Pakistan's Inter-Services-Intelligence (ISI), ostensibly to erase the only living evidence of their heinous (terror) act.

Interestingly, both these cases - the Mumbai serial blasts and Mumbai terror strikes 15 years later - were personally investigated by Maria.

"All this is a publicity stunt. Its being done to promote his (Maria's) book only. There's not an iota of truth in it," Chhota Shakeel said flatly, reacting to the charges in the sensational book released on Monday.

On persistence, the Mafiosi, considered a right-hand man of Dawood, said, "that's not our business" - implying taking a contract to eliminate a terrorist.

Maria further said that the 26/11, 2008 Mumbai terror attack was actually planned for September 27, 2008, which was the 27th day of Ramadan month of fasting, but for reasons not specified, were postponed by two months.

Besides, he said that the terror group LeT wanted the arrested terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab to have a Hindu identity for the Mumbai terror strikes.

According to Maria, the LeT wanted Kasab to be killed as a Bengaluru resident 'Samir Dinesh Chaudhari', with a red thread tied around his wrist to portray the attack as a case of 'Hindu Terror'.

But their plan apparently didn't work and the police succeeded in nabbing Ajmal Amir Kasab hailing from Faridkot in Pakistan, he said.

Accordingly, Maria said it became his "first priority" to ensure Kasab's safety, particularly in view of perceptible anger and hostility among the Mumbai Police personnel besides the external threats.

The Mumbai cops' angst stemmed from the fact that around 16 Mumbai Police personnel, besides at least two NSG commandos were killed in the 60-hour terror operation at 11 locations in barely a five-square km area of south Mumbai, plus the 150 civilian casualties including around 26 foreigners.

Kasab, 25, underwent a full trial in Indian courts and was finally hanged secretly in Pune's Yerawada Central Jail on November 21, 2012 and buried at an unknown location.