Justin Davenport, Crime Editor
12 Oct 2011
A businessman alleged to be one of the world’s most wanted drug barons has been arrested by police in Essex investigating a domestic row.
Iqbal Mirchi, 61, who is wanted in India for murder, drugs offences and links to a terrorist bombing campaign, was being questioned in an east London police station today about allegations of “threats to kill” said to involve members of his family.
The businessman is listed by the United Nations among the world’s top 50 drug barons and is said to be a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, one of India’s most wanted criminals who is also on an FBI list of key terrorists.
Scotland Yard said the Havering community safety unit had arrested the man in Romford yesterday after an allegation was reported to police on Sunday. #
Mirchi, who in the past has denied being involved in organised crime or terrorism, was arrested by Scotland Yard in 1995 on drugs and terrorism charges over a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993.
The charges were later replaced by one relating to the murder of a former Mirchi employee, who was shot dead in India. But an extradition request was refused by magistrates who ruled there was no case to answer.
The charges remain on file in India and Mirchi faces arrest and trial if he returns there. He is reported to have lived openly in a six-bedroom house in Hornchurch for the last 20 years.
His arrest has prompted huge publicity in India and has led to speculation that the country may renew attempts to extradite him.
A UN report has identified Mirchi as a senior figure in the “D” company, a worldwide organised crime syndicate with wealth and power said to rival the Italian mafia. Reports in India say he has mastered the art of distancing himself from the drugs trafficking he is alleged to control.