Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), has done it yet again—playing the system in Thailand and using bribery to get a favourable court verdict. The person in the eye of the storm in this case is Syed Muzakir Muddassar Hussain, alias Munna Jhingra, a close aide of gangster Dawood Ibrahim and a suspect in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.
A Thai court of appeal has recently overturned a lower court order that had okayed Jhingra’s extradition to India. Jhingra has seven cases against him in Mumbai, ranging from murder to possessing illegal weapons.
Intelligence sources have told SNI that the ISI colluded with D-Company and a bribe of nearly THB 100 million was paid to get Jingra declared a Pakistani national, which would prevent his extradition to India that would have helped prove Dawood’s presence in Pakistan, a fact Pakistan has long denied.
Mia Kasim, a Pak businessman dealing with import/export of carpets in Thailand, is said to have played a key role in the plot. He roped in a lawyer, Col. Sanhakit Bumrungsuksawad, who has served nearly 30 years in the Royal Thai Police, to leverage his contacts in the political and judicial set-ups., sources said, adding that Sanhakit and another lawyer Pawarit Phudpong finalised the monetary deals to influence the court verdict.
Muhammad Sohail Qasmani, a hawala agent linked to D-Company, apparently played an important role in transferring the funds. He was briefly detained at a Thai airport on September 8 while coming from Malaysia. Local security agencies had suspicion that he had come to transfer funds to ISI operatives at the Pakistani embassy in Bangkok.
According to Thai judicial rules, a court of appeal cannot decide on the basis of the evidence which had already been presented to a lower court and can rule only if there is new evidence. But in this case, the appeals court based its verdict on mere statements given by Pak embassy, not on documentary evidence which is part of the case, said sources.
In the year 2000, Jhingra was sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with an assassination bid on Chhota Rajan, an Indian underworld operative who was part of the D-Company but later fell out with Dawood, in Bangkok after entering Thailand on a fake Pakistani passport in the name of Mohd. Saleem.
Ever since his conviction, ISI used bribery and its contacts in the Thai Foreign Ministry in getting five royal pardons, thereby remitting his jail sentence from 35 years to 16 years. Jhingra was released from prison on December 27, 2016.
As an extradition request against Jhingra was already pending from India (India made a formal extradition request in March 2012), Thai authorities arrested him again. India submitted a dossier in the Thai court, including fingerprints in support of Jhingra’s Indian nationality. The detailed evidence submitted to court also included DNA samples, college-leaving certificate and copies of FIRs registered against him in Mumbai.
ISI arranged a fake Pakistani passport to counter India’s claim on Jhingra’s nationality. It’s also said to have warned the Thai foreign office that Jhingra’s extradition to India would lead to a major diplomatic row between Pakistan and Thailand.
However, based on evidence, the lower court affirmed that Jhingra is an Indian national and ordered his extradition to India.
Rattled by the court order, Pakistan, sources said, even planned to get Jhingra killed in Thai jail but could not get it done. In August 2018, it appealed against the lower court order.
Pakistan’s dubious record of making false claims and fabricating documents has been demonstrated earlier as well, in the case of Ibrahim Koko, a Myanmarese national and drug peddler, who too is associated with D-Company. Koko was arrested on charges of running a drug syndicate in Thailand. The Pakistani embassy in Bangkok had sought his extradition on the grounds that he is a Pakistani national. However, subsequent to his extradition in 2015, a Pakistani court ruled that he was travelling on fake Pakistani documents and should be deported back to Thailand where he should complete his remaining jail term. Finding themselves in an embarrassing situation, Thai authorities have not yet accepted Ibrahim Koko’s return to Thailand.
But that didn’t stop Pakistan from trying the same trick in the case of Jhingra, who is an Indian national and a resident of Sayyed Muddsar Chawl near Toofani Kirana Stores, Prem Nagar, Jogeshwari (East), Mumbai-60.
Jhingra’s links with the underworld can be traced from the time of his father, Muddassar Hussain, who was associated with Dawood Ibrahim in his initial days of crime in Mumbai.
After the 1993 Mumbai blasts, Jhingra fled to Pakistan, where he enjoyed the patronage of ISI for being a trusted member of D-Company. It was during his stay in Pakistan that a conspiracy was hatched by Dawood to kill his rival Chhota Rajan in Thailand.