Dreaded underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's close aide Riyaz Bhati was arrested after a tip-off from intelligence agencies; he has been remanded in police custody till November 2
After Chhota Rajan’s arrest in Bali on Sunday, the Intelligence Bureau and the police are keeping a close watch on every person who was and is associated with the underworld. The first arrest in this regard was seen yesterday when Riyaz Bhati, a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, was arrested from the Sahar airport with two passports.
Police officials arrested Bhati after they found two passports in his baggage that had differing details mentioned in them. Bhati was at the airport to catch a flight to Johannesburg, where Dawood’s other cronies were supposedly going to meet and discuss the future of D-company in Mumbai.
Riyaz Bhati (left) with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Bhati has posted several pictures with celebrities on his social media profiles
Intelligence agencies had tipped off the police about Bhati’s arrival at the airport, and had said that he could be carrying two separate passports for his trip. They had also issued a Look Out Circular (LOC) against him.
Later, during the investigation, it was found that he had used both passports several times in the past to travel abroad.
Bhati’s first passport (G3128659) was issued in Jaipur in June 2007 under the name Phoolji Bhati. In the first passport, his date of birth has been mentioned as June 12, 1968. The second passport (Z2479378) was issued under his name (Riyaz Bhati), in Jaipur in March 2013 and will expire in March 2023.
Here, Bhati has listed his date of birth as February 19 1962, six years before the date in the first passport. In the first passport, Bhati’s photo has a moustache, and in the second he appears without one. He has varying signatures on the passports as well.
Bhati is a builder and currently operates a sports academy called the Indian Sports Academy. This is not the first time Riyaz’s name has appeared in the news. He has a number of serious offences registered against him, including a firing case at Khandala in 2007 and 2008 and a land grabbing case at Malad in 2009.
He was also accused of organising a private party in Dubai with Iqbal Atarwala and Ajay Gosalia alias Ganda for Dawood and his associate Areef Bhaijaan. Bhati supposedly uses the academy as a front to convert Chhota Shakeel’s hawala money into white. Sources added that Bhati was actively involved in the hawala business when D-company had a stronghold in Mumbai. It is said that he is still investing Dawood’s money into hawala.
Probe to begin soon
Sahar police said Bhati was produced before a court on Wednesday, and he has been remanded in police custody till November 2. An official from Sahar police station said, “Our prime focus will be to find out how and where Bhati got his fake passports made, since both passports have different details. We will try to find out what documents he has submitted for these passports. We suspect he has several other fake passports as well.”