The Thane Police has invoked the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's brother Iqbal Kaskar, gangster Chhota Shakeel and three others in connection with an extortion case.

Iqbal Kaskar

Iqbal Kaskar

The MCOCA has been invoked against Kaskar and others in the first extortion case registered at the Kasarwadavali police station in Thane on a complaint filed by a builder, a police official said on Wednesday.

Under the MCOCA, an accused cannot obtain bail easily. In this case, the police have already arrested Kaskar and his two aides Israr Ali Jamal Ali Sayyed and Mumtaz Sheikh. During interrogation, it was revealed that Shakeel, a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, was also allegedly involved in the extortion racket, he said.

Shakeel had allegedly threatened some builders and businessmen on behalf of Ibrahim and tried to extort money from them, the official said.

During further investigation, the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) sleuths arrested Borivali-based 'matka' (gambling) king and businessman Pankaj Gangar, who allegedly used to send Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh to Shakeel through hawala (illegal channel of sending money) per month, he said.

The Thane Police, since the beginning of the probe, were examining whether the MCOCA could be applied in this case. As Shakeel's role was established in the case, it became easy to invoke the tough law, an official said.

In this regard, the Thane Police had requested their counterparts in Mumbai to provide details of the cases filed in the last 10 years against Shakeel, he said. Subsequently, the Mumbai Police provided details, including of some cases in which Shakeel was charge sheeted in a sessions court, he said.

In the first extortion case, the builder had paid Rs 30 lakh and given four flats to Kaskar and his aides as he was being threatened in the name of Dawood Ibrahim or his gang since 2013, he said.

Two more extortion cases were registered in Thane in which Kaskar, Shakeel, Dawood Ibrahim and his other brother Anees have been named as accused. A team, led by encounter specialist police inspector Pradeep Sharma, had arrested Kaskar from his sister Haseena Parkar's home at Gorden Hall apartment in Nagpada area of Mumbai on September 18, the official said.