|Dawood hand suspected in Woolmer murder
[ 29 Mar, 2007 2249hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
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PORT OF SPAIN: D company may have been involved in Bob Woolmer's murder. According to British tabloid The Sun, the bookie who was thrown out of the Pakistan coach's room is an associate of Dawood Ibrahim, the Karachi-based gangster who is wanted for the 1993 Mumbai blasts and is said to fund the Al Qaida.
The tabloid said, "Intelligence officials who toured with the Indian cricket team said the bookie was at the World Cup in Jamaica with Anees Ibrahim, Dawood's brother."
Earlier, Jamaican government officials had said two Pakistan players had told the police that an ugly spat took place between Woolmer and the bookie the night before the coach was murdered.
Jamaica DCP Mark Shields said the issue had come up earlier too, but the police were unable to substantiate it. "But we are prepared to consider it further now that we have names and more details. We will be investigating," he said.
Last week, jailed Uttar Pradesh gangster Babloo Shrivastava had said that Dawood had staked about Rs 400 crore on World Cup matches and could have been involved in the murder.
Meanwhile, investigators on Thursday said the CCTV footage from Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, where Woolmer was murdered, had provided sharp images of the potential suspects. Although the tapes show the lift and one end of the corridor, they do not show the entrance to Woolmer's room. But detectives said they had begun identifying people who were present on the 12th floor of the hotel on the day of the crime. According to The Guardian , the probe team was planning to gather DNA samples, fingerprints and photographs of all those who were staying in the 300-room hotel at the time of the murder.
Shields admitted it was a huge task, but said it had to be done. "I am hoping that when the forensic report is through and we have studied it, we will find fingerprints and the DNA of the suspect," he said. The former Scotland Yard cop said the task, which might involve as many as 1,000 guests, could take months to complete.
Jamaica Gleaner said an unnamed Pakistani Cricket Board official had been quoted as saying that pathologist Ere Sheshiah had erred in his analysis of the cause of death and that Woolmer might have died of natural causes.
But Shields said the murder probe would continue. "Until I get the final report from forensics in terms of toxicology and everything else, and gather all the information, my mind will not change a bit. So, I am not likely to listen to an anonymous Pakistani who is telling that it's actually natural causes. I will stick with the experts and the information that I have," he said.
He, however, maintained that there would be no second autopsy on Woolmer.
Meanwhile, Woolmer's South Africa-based widow Gill has pleaded for an early closure to the investigation. "I just hope this thing can be done so we can find out who committed this terrible act," she told Jamaica Observer.
In Pakistan, former judge, Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum, has urged the Musharraf government to send investigators to Jamaica to assist in the murder probe. "Woolmer was our man. He was our coach and the government must send its own investigation team," he said.