Crime branch to take Lakdawala's DNA samples to establish identity

Mumbai: The Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) of city crime branch investigating gangster Ejaz Lakdawala, 50, who was arrested on Wednesday for a series of extortion cases, will now take his DNA samples to confirm his identity.

The crime branch produced Lakdawala in the court on Wednesday but is apprehensive that he would argue in the court that he is not the same person. However, he did not argue in the court and that doesn't mean that in future he would not opt for an argument.

According to the crime branch officer, in 1998, when Lakdawala fled from India, to never return after jumping bail, the Mumbai Police did not have the facility to take forensic samples of criminals. Hence, police have no DNA samples of Lakdawala.

Now, police will also take DNA samples of his daughter, Shifa Shahid Shaikh, 21 alias Soniya Lakdawala, who was arrested in a fake passport case of December 28 and Lakdawala's elder brother, Aquil Lakdawala, who was arrested in March last year in an extortion case. Their DNA samples will be matched with Ejaz's, said an officer.

More than 27 cases are registered against Lakdawala since 35 years, including three murders. For the past 10 years, he was running an extortion racket from outside India and has threatened at least 100 people on phone for extortion.

According to the AEC officer, Ejaz was staying in Nepal with his wife, his daughter Soniya and a 12-year-old son. The investigation revealed that Soniya was born in Bhaba Hospital in Bandra but her real name was never revealed. To stay off from the investigation agencies' radar, Lakdawala took utmost care and at the birth itself, her identity was created as Soniya Manish Advani. AEC has found Soniya's birth certificate in which her name is mentioned as Soniya Manish Advani and born on May 4, 1997.

During investigation, it was also found that Lakdawala succeeded to hide his wife from the crime branch's radar. For their daughter's wedding held in Andheri few years ago, his wife had visited the city from Nepal and returned safely.

Lakdawala used different applications to make the threat calls, due to which it was a difficult task for the Mumbai crime branch to trace him. After his arrest from Patna, now the crime branch is looking for his Mumbai-based accomplices who provided him with the victims numbers.

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