New Delhi: June 26th: The government has directed all investigating and law enforcement agencies to identify the property and other movable and immovable assets acquired by underworld dons and other "wanted" criminals, especially in metropolitan cities, and to either forfieit them or sell them or sell them through public auctions.

Estimating that the underworlds and hard-crore criminals having nexus with the Dubai-based dons Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Shakeel have invested over 800 crores in the real estate business in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Lucknow, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Kanpur, Kolkata, Muradabad, and some other places in the country during the past five years, the government has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and state police chiefs to conduct an in-depth investigation into the matter.

While the ED will ascertain the "route of transactions," the Income Tax department will verify the transaction of "suspected" bank accounts, a senior official in the home ministry said .

Quoting some intelligence inputs, he fruther said that "some Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Lucknow-based businessmen who make frequent visits to the UK, US and Dubai, are working as agents to transact underworld money into the real estate business."

Expressing concern over the alleged nexus of the land acquisition officials withthe underworlds' brokers, the MHA officials said: "The investigating agencies will also verify the authenticity of the property owners and their sources of income as most of the suspected property currently under investigation have been acquired benami."

Last Friday, in a landmark judgement an appellate tribunal ordered forfeiture of Mumbai based property of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim sheikh under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (forfeiture of property) Act 1976.

The tribunal sources said its order has also highlighted "the new trend that can be adopted in cases where the person concerned does not require any documents showing evidence of the transfer of property," adding the Zahoor Islam Shaikh and 15 other persons were projected as holders of the property.

However, investigation revealed that they were benamidars and mere name lenders, while the property actually belonged to Dawood Ibrahim.