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UK quizs Mirchi, Extradition likely

London/New Delhi: Iqbal Memon alias `Iqbal Mirchi`, who is wanted in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts was questioned today by Scotland Yard, even as India said the process involving extradition of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim`s right hand man was being initiated. A close aide of Dawood, 61-year-old Memon is wanted by Mumbai police in connection with cases related to drug peddling and 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.

He was arrested on Thursday in Romford, Essex. Scotland Yard said the Havering community safety unit had arrested a man in Essex on Friday investigating a domestic row after an allegation of "threats to kill" involving members of his family was reported to police on Sunday. Mirchi was being questioned in the east London police station.

In New Delhi, an official spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said the extradition process was being initiated for him. "A Red Corner notice for the arrest of Memon had been issued and continues to be valid, which means that he is a wanted person and that we do seek his extradition back to India. The processes involved for his extradition are being initiated," the spokesperson said.

Menon, 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 in connection with 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.

According to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Mirchi, against whom an Interpol Red Corner Notice is pending since 1994 was reportedly living in a six-bedroom house in Hornchurch for the last 20 years. A UN report has identified Mirchi as a senior figure in the "D" company, a worldwide organised crime syndicate with wealth and power.

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