New Delhi, July 24: It was the month of December 1994. A meeting was fixed in Pretoria to discuss with the South Africans the security to be provided to Nelson Mandela during his January 1995 visit to India.
South Africa had sought from India that a senior officer of the Intelligence meets with their officials. India decided to send V Balachandran who was part of the Research and Analysis Wing to South Africa.
The South Africans showed Balachandran 18 passports that were being used by Dawood Ibrahim and also gave out details about his frequent visits to South Africa in connection with a major mandrax smuggling racket.
The South Africans wanted India's help with details. However New Delhi ensured that this file was tucked away safely into a heap of several other files and never saw the light of the day.
An operational plan was needed:
V Balachandran tells OneIndia that the South Africans were serious about the Dawood issue. "They had asked India for an operational plan to nab the don. They were confident that with the assistance of India they would be able to nab Dawood.
I was shown a presentation on how Dawood and his gang were smuggling mandrax into the country.
Dawood had become so strong that he managed to use the country as his backyard to smuggle drugs. Further Dawood had gone to South Africa several times on 18 different passports.
During the presentation I was also told that he had built up local contacts. While the South Africans would handle the local issues and also their in-house intelligence, they had said that India should chip in with an operational plan. I was ready for it, but also said that I would need clearance from New Delhi."
A report was prepared:
Balachandran on his arrival prepared a report on the Dawood issue. " I was quite sure that if the operations are carried out along with South Africa, the don could have been nabbed.
I had mentioned that this is for the first time that a foreign country is extending cooperation in nabbing Dawood Ibrahim.
The report had all details of what the South Africans had told me. I had mentioned about his 18 different passports and also the fact that Dawood was using different nationalities to enter into South Africa. A detailed preparation on mandrax smuggling was also part of my report."
Yet another file to bite the dust:
"The government however did not appear to be interested. I did my level best to ensure that the report was looked at. I even tried my best to pursue the government to look into the report and also act upon it.
The government on the other ensured that the report was not acted upon. It was taken from one person to another, tossed around before it made its way into a heap of files. The file was never opened after that.
After this the proposals that were made to capture Dawood became a usual routine. I could say with confidence that no government since 1993 has made any effort to nab Dawood.
Leave alone nab him, the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing have not even been told to get his location. Dawood never was a priority