Almost two years after Dawood Ibrahim lost his younger sister, Haseena Parkar, to a heart attack, the fugitive gangster might lose another bond that connects him to Indian soil — his childhood home in Mumbke village of Khed taluka, Ratnagiri district. Mumbke's village panchayat recently declared the home built by Dawood's father Ibrahim Kaskar as a dilapidated structure.
Although, during a television interview last week, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit claimed Dawood was not in Pakistan ("How can I tell about a person who isn't in Pakistan and hand over to you?" he said), Indian agencies have claimed for long that he is holed up in Karachi and enjoys ISI protection.
Akbar Dawood Duduke, the village sarpanch, confirmed the development in a telephone conversation with mid-day. "The structure has been declared dangerous and we have warned villagers not to visit the property since it may prove fatal in case of a mishap," Duduke added. Duduke has been a panchayat member for 16 years and was voted sarpanch six years ago.
Dawood's childhood home in Mumbke village of Khed taluka, Ratnagiri district
According to locals, the bungalow was built by Dawood's father, Ibrahim Kaskar, in the 1980s. Kaskar was then working with Mumbai Police and had the home constructed in the name of his wife, Amina Ibrahim.
Dawood, accused by Indian authorities of having been the mastermind of the March 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai which killed 257 and left over 700 injured, was born in this bungalow, simply known as Dawoodcha Bangla.
After the Dawood's childhood home in Mumbke village of Khed taluka, Ratnagiri districtblasts, most from the Kaskar family fled the country and since then, the bungalow in coastal Konkan has been lying vacant. Haseena died at their Nagpada residence in 2014. Police suspect that the few relatives who continue to be in India have never visited the bungalow for fear of being apprehended by the police in order to gain information about the terrorist who tops India's most-wanted list.
A couple of months ago, local police had urged the panchayat to check the feasibility of starting a school at 'Don's bungalow'. "There are two schools in the village but they are finding it difficult to function due to the low turnout of students. What will we do by opening another school? Also, the structure is in bad shape," Duduke said.
With no family having visited the structure, its crumbling walls are vandalised by graffiti scribbled by visitors who want a glimpse of the don's childhood.
The bungalow has also become a selfie hot spot. Pranaya Ashok, Superintendent of Police (Ratnagiri), said, "If any decision has been taken by the local village administration [to declare the bungalow dangerous], then we will ask for the minutes of the same and accordingly communicate with other government agencies concerned so that a warning board is put up on the said property to avoid any mishap."
Asked whether the structure needs to be pulled down, the head of the village panchayat stated that they have no control over the property. "Several years ago, the income tax department had sealed the premises. Government agencies will have to take a decision on the property in question."
The government has for long tried to get its hands on Dawood's assets in India, worth crores. Seven properties owned by him — three in Mumbai and four outside — went under the hammer in December 2015. The properties were auctioned under the Smugglers & Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Properties) Act, 1976.
Former journalist S Balakrishnan won the bid for the property where the restaurant Delhi Zaika used to stand on Pakmodia Street near Sandhurst Road station. While he paid Rs 3 lakh as earnest money, he needed to pay a total of Rs 4 crore.
However, because of alleged threats those who were to willing to support Bala's bid, backed out. He then requested an extension which was turned down. Now, the government is back in possession of the property. In 2001, Delhi-based lawyer Ajay Shrivastava won a bid for an industrial unit owned by Dawood in Nagpada.