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Mumbai Police hopes to gather clues on old cases from Lakdawala

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The gangster has worked with Dawood Kaskar and Chhota Rajan

The “keep your enemies closer” axiom that the underworld operates on is expected to work in the Mumbai Police’s favour, with the Crime Branch milking arrested gangster Ejaz Lakdawala dry for information not only about his own activities but also other gangland figures like Rajendra Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan and Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar.

Lakdawala was arrested on Wednesday in Patna by the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Crime Branch after being on the run for over 20 years. He was subsequently remanded in police custody and is currently being interrogated by the AEC.

What makes Lakdawala a significant catch is that he has worked with both Kaskar and Rajan before starting his own gang, said Crime Branch officials.

“The underworld operates heavily on grapevine, as it is an operational requirement for any criminal gang to keep close tabs on their rivals. This is mainly to ensure that they get to know of any impending attack by the rivals as well as to pass on the occasional tip about the gang’s members to law enforcement agencies as a way of eliminating the competition,” a Crime Branch officer explained.

Vital information

The officer added that in Rajan’s case, Lakdawala — who worked with him till 2008 — could provide vital information in cases that date back all the way to the early 1980s.

Rajan was arrested in Bali in October 2015 and subsequently extradited to India.

He is currently lodged in the Tihar Jail in Delhi, with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) having taken over all the cases against him.

“Rajan is still facing trial for many of the cases, which were registered when Lakdawala was a part of his gang. His interrogation could provide crucial information about these cases which would be useful as evidence. It could also help identify any others who were acting as foot soldiers for Rajan in Mumbai when he was still operational. Any relevant details will be passed on to the CBI,” the officer said.

Lakdawala could be an important source of information about Kaskar’s activities as well.

Another officer said, “His terrorist tag notwithstanding, Kaskar still continues to be a legend in the underworld and every gangland element still wants to know what he is doing. While we are not expecting any direct information about Kaskar himself, data about the gang’s footsoldiers and criminal rackets in India would help to a great extent and can be shared with multiple law enforcement and anti-terror agencies both at the State as well as the Central level.”

Lakdawala, 50, who fled the country some time between 1998 and 1999, was wanted in a string of cases, including murder, attempt to murder and extortion, registered since 1989.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 11:54:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mumbai-police-hopes-to-gather-clues-on-old-cases-from-lakdawala/article30545354.ece

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