Saturday, 5 December 2015

How Mumbai police manufactured the world's most wanted mafia.


I'm starting off the post with the picture of the man the post centers around. He features at #3 on the world's most wanted list released in 2011, and has also made a mark on Forbes lists of world's most powerful persons. In fact if his hirelings and their accounts are to be believed, he considers himself to be just about as powerful, if not more powerful than, the president of USA. His egomania is so tremendous that his large manor in Karachi bears the name "The White House". So ladies and gentlemen, here's the story of a boy who was born in the family of one of Mumbai's most dreaded and fearsome constables, and one who went on to become the country's biggest bete noire. This is the story of how Mumbai police made an unflinching and cunning don out of an underworld charlatan. This is the story of Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar's meteoric rise. 

Dawood Ibrahim was not the first, neither the second, nor the thrid, but perhaps the fourth in line in a succession of underworld dons who held hegemony over the Bombay province and then the Mumbai metropolis. Right from the Allahbadi, Rampuri and Jaunpuri gangs that ruled roost in areas like Byculla in the pre Independence Bombay province, to the veritable and media's blue eyed mafia Haji Mastan. Many had savored the taste of what it feels like to be at the apex of organized crime syndicate in Mumbai. But while all of them largely confined their contraventions to smuggling and hawala, Dawood had the erudition of expanding the horizon of the shady underworld, and to turn it into a global corporation, which many believe has a turnover in excess of USD 25 Billion today. No surprise he considers himself as wielding surreal power. 

During the 80's and 90's, Mumbai police, which had always held the tag of being the country's most rancorous force to reckon with, was carrying out a purging operation of the Mumbai underworld. One of the most odious and unbridled of all mafias - Manya Surve, was brought down and riddled with bullets in the Shotout at Wadala, and likewise the newspapers were always marked with sporadic encounters and shootings which showed how the police slewed the Mumbai underworld, one obstreperous gangster at a time. But pretty much at the same time, some gangs were making a substantial rise. The one that was at the helm of it was the D-company or the Dawood gang. 

As the Mumbai mafiosi was raging with internecine battles between the pathans and the D-company, and later between the D-company and Arun Gawli gang, the D-company simply kept growing, unfettered and unaffected by all the inferno that was consuming the rest of Mumbai mafia. To the bare eye, this might seem to be Dawood's maneuvering and his sublime sagacity, but one look at Dawood's provenance tells you the real link enshrouding this mysterious don to his unwavering success. It was the Mumbai police itself. 

Back in 1977, when Dawood had already turned out to be a recusant outlaw, much to the shame and embarrassment of his father Ibrahim Kaskar, who was considered to be just about as revered and respected as the police commissioner because of his rapport and contacts with the biggies of the underworld, the Mumbai police decided to turn to him for help. Dawood Ibrahim and his brother Sabir Ibrahim were running a small smuggling operation and had established their reins in Dongri and surrounding areas. The were often at loggerheads with the Pathan gang and the Pathan gang, ostensibly having much more firepower, were considered somewhat unassailable. However Dawood feared no devil, for he was the biggest devil himself. He took the mighty and brawny Pathans hands on, and someone was paying attention all the while. 

In the late 1970's, the Pathan gang had turned pretty rogue and their debauchery with law breaking had left the then Bombay police baffled and rummaging for a way to decimate them into bits and pieces. Dawood, being the son of a constable, was known to a few police officers. One of them, was an additional commissioner of police who was pretty much on the verge of being transferred for not being able to handle the obnoxious Pathan menace. This officer, on a suggestion from a renowned crime reporter who was also a friend of Dawood, approached Dawood and offered to rope him in to help the Bombay police in getting rid of the Pathan menace. Essentially, the offer to Dawood was that the police would turn a blind eye to any crime committed against the Pathan syndicate, as long as it was beneficial to the Mumbai police. Hence on the Pathan's, Dawood and Mumbai police formed a partnership that changed the face of the underworld forever. Dawood became a police snitch and henchman, and the police his consigliere. 

The relationship worked well and the Pathan power was tamed to some extent. However, in 1981, something inconceivable happened. The Pathans were infuriated with the rise of Dawood's empire and they struck at his brother Sabir Ibrahim while he was returning from a visit to his paramour in Mumbai's red light district. Sabir was clobbered with multiple bullets and was dead in no time. A fumigated Dawood was beyond any pacification and swore the blood of the Pathans. Dawood was now steaming and seething under the revelry of revenge, and his pact with the Mumbai police was now forgotten. With 4 years of working with the Mumbai police, Dawood had enough tabs on their spy network and their contacts and setup. Now Dawood was not a ruffian anymore. He wanted to become "Bambai ka Badshah" which a Fakir had predicted he'd become when his father went to a shrine seeking another son, which Dawood turned out to be! Hence as Mumbai police sighed in relief as the Pathan suzerainty dropped, the assassination of Sabir mutilated their arrangement, and all of Mumbai police's hidden secrets were now at Dawood's avail to exploit and further his cause.  

What happened over the next 4 years is a tale worth telling again. All gangs blanched in front of the D-company, and what was formed as a result was a profound organized crime syndicate which boomed and flourished by the day. Dawood Ibrahim now had the services of other notorious gang members like Chotta Rajan and Chotta Shakeel taking care of the chores, while Dawood forged trading relationships with the emirates. Dawood had a business acumen beyond any match and his lower level chieftains took care of the daily aspects of business. Suddenly, the D-company became larger than the Bombay police - the very force responsible for its creation! 

Where Bombay police really faltered was when they thought they'd create a David(Dawood in Quran is tantamount to David in Bible) to take on Goliath, and then they'd keep the David's surging prowess in check. But the Bombay police never realized that Dawood was far more deft than they thought. As he grew under their nose, he also kept paving a path for further growth, because he was now acquainted with all the nuances of the Bombay police, its operations, its bureaucratic setup and its tarnished coordination with the Mantralaya. Dawood's strings ran so deep in Mumbai police that finally in 1986, when the Bombay police acquired a warrant to raid Dawood's office in Musafirkhana, and to arrest him and his stooges, all they found was a half burnt cigarette and smells and reminiscent of people who had just fled. As a befuddled Bombay police tried to seek Dawood and contemplate on where the leak of information took place, an anxious Dawood boarded a flight to Dubai. Later on, it was revealed that Dawood had developed such gargantuan assets that the call which provided him with the last minute tip off to escape, actually came from the Mantralaya itself. And as Dawood Ibrahim left the precincts of Mumbai, the city that made him everything, he surely would've held a smirk on his face as the Bombay police, his progenitor, began a lifelong tryst with tailing him. As they tail him even today!