Mumbai Local

Underworld connections run deep in Mumbai politics

Over the past two decades, charges and allegations have flown thick and fast over a thriving criminal-political nexus in Maharashtra.

Criminalisation of politics has long been a concern, especially in Maharashtra where the flourishing underworld has been part of its political milieu for several decades.

A detailed investigation by The Hindu establishes that several State-level politicians have long-standing, or newly established, ties with the Dawood gang, with the criminal-politician network developing significant muscle and money power in what appears as a resurgence of the syndicate. Documents and intercepts show that fugitive dons Dawood Ibrahim and his aide Chhota Shakeel used their close links in local politics to influence key redevelopment schemes in South Mumbai in the past few years, without even the operators of the project knowing it.

Poll funding

In return, the duo not only helped fund elections of certain candidates but also got their men installed on important statutory panels such as the Standing Committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The panel is empowered to clear key construction and redevelopment schemes and major infrastructure works across city. It has 27 members as representatives of various political parties elected to the country’s richest municipal corporation.

Over the past two decades, charges and allegations have flown thick and fast over a thriving criminal-political nexus in the State. Several politicians have been alleged to have close links with the gangs, while some successfully transformed from underworld operatives to mainstream politicians.

The catalyst, however, was the 1993 Bombay blasts soon after which the N.N. Vohra committee submitted its report on the criminal-politician nexus, naming and shaming some big names from State politics.

But not much has changed since, sources and intercepts accessed by The Hindu reveal. They clearly establish the underworld’s close links with local politicians.

In a conversation in June, a close aide of Dawood enquired about an influential and powerful politician from Talegaon in Pune. During the conversation, Dawood’s aide in India told his UAE counterpart that the politician could get a lot of works done. “Merey dost ka koi kaam hai,” he said in reference to the politician.

The catalyst, however, was the 1993 Bombay blasts soon after which the N.N. Vohra committee submitted its report on the criminal-politician nexus, naming and shaming some big names from State politics.

But not much has changed since, sources and intercepts accessed by The Hindu reveal. They clearly establish the underworld’s close links with local politicians. In a conversation in June, a close aide of Dawood enquired about an influential and powerful politician from Talegaon in Pune. During the conversation, Dawood’s aide in India told his UAE counterpart that the politician could get a lot of works done. “Merey dost ka koi kaam hai,” he said in reference to the politician.

In January 2013, Chhota Shakeel discussed with his aide in Dubai an unknown redevelopment scheme in Mumbai, a work that could fetch Rs. 15-20 crore for the syndicate and “could only be done by the Mayor of Mumbai”. In April 2014, a civic corporator is heard pleading with the “bhai” for funding for the upcoming elections in the State being fought by his party in some areas of South Mumbai.

Going by the details that have emerged in The Hindu investigation, in March 2014, Dawood and company attempted to install two politicians on the Standing Committee, using the direct influence of Chhota Shakeel. An aide suggested that Shakeel ask the councillors to become members of the panel that had a two-and-a-half-year term left. But he was informed they would never like to become members with his support as the duo thought he would come on top and kick them out when he felt like.

A third corporator from Govandi (there are five corporators in Govandi and it is not clear from the intercept who is being referred to) was helped in getting a seat on the prestigious Standing Committee, and by March 2014, the same corporator was being pushed to fight the Assembly elections later. Names of some other politicians also have figured in the most dependable intelligence inputs into the activities of the D-company.

The D-company used the influence of politicians not only to settle matters in redevelopments schemes but also in the development of old bungalows in Bandra and Mahim, Dargah property in some areas, and land deals at Jogeshwari and Andheri, The Hindu investigations show.

This is the fourth part of the six-part series on Dawood Ibrahim's crime syndicate. Read >part 1, >part 2 and >part 3 here.

null
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 8:19:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/dawood-ibrahims-looming-shadow-underworld-connections-run-deep-in-mumbai-politics/article7953132.ece

Next Story