Mumbai has always flourished under the shadows of the underworld and part of its political background for several decades. Several state-level politicians have long-standing ties with the Dawood gang, with the criminal-politician network developing significant muscle and money power. Those were the days when Balasaheb used to boast about Arun Gawli being his henchman and Sharad Pawar in his counterarguments used to claim that the Dawood is his man.
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. 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 the city. It has 27 members as representatives of various political parties elected to the country’s richest municipal corporation.
Over the past few days, 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 NCP released photographs of BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and others with Riyaz Bhati, an alleged accomplice of gangster Dawood Ibrahim. There are over a dozen charges of firing, land grabbing and extortion against Bhati. Bhati was absconding after the 1993 Mumbai blasts till 2007. He was arrested in 2015 but was mysteriously released within 15 days. He is known as Dawood Ibrahim’s man in Mumbai.
The Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis alleged the NCP minister Nawab Malik had struck a property deal with 1993 Mumbai bomb blast convict Sardar Shahwali Khan and Mohd Salim Ishaq Patel, who was the frontman of Haseena Parkar, Dawood Ibrahim’s sister. Addressing the media at the BJP headquarters in Mumbai, Fadnavis disclosed, “A prime property of 2.80 acres at LBS Marg in Kurla was bought by Solidus Investment Private Limited for a meager Rs 30 lakh. The signatory of the deal was Faraz Malik, son of Nawab Malik.” Nawab Malik held a high post in the company but had resigned before taking charge of the ministerial post in the state government in 2019. Malik’s wife, Mehjbeen Nawab Malik, and son, Aamir Malik, are the directors of the 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. Nawab may have taken the properties from them but I am sure they are not directly in Don’s possession.
According to Fadnavis, after the property deal and registration, the Maliks paid Rs 15 lakh to Sardar Shahwali Ali Khan and Rs 5 lakh to Mohd Salim Patel. Although the deal was Rs 30 lakh, the actual payment transacted was only Rs 20 lakh. Fadnavis alleged the property whose market rate was Rs 8,500 per square meter was purchased by Maliks for as little as Rs 25 per square meter.
Both Sardar Shahawali Khan and Salim Patel, with whom Maliks dealt in property, have underworld connections, Fadnavis stated. Refuting the allegations, NCP minister Mallik told reporters, “I have not bought the said property from any person connected to the underworld. I have bought the property from the original owners.” “There was a watchman of the erstwhile owners’ named Khan who had managed to create rights on a 300-sqm plot. I paid money to get these rights surrendered and ensure that he vacated that plot. Everything was done in a legal way and I have all necessary papers to prove this transaction.”
Fadnavis went on to state that the Kurla land deal was just one among five such deals, which took place between 2003 and 2019. However, he said, the details on the other four property deals between Malik and the “underworld” will be submitted to appropriate investigating agencies.
Malik said he will drop a hydrogen bomb tomorrow in connection with Devendra Fadnavis. he will expose Devendra Fadnavis’s underworld links. Devendra Fadnavis is trying to malign his image by connecting him to blast convicts and the underworld. Nawab Malik had earlier alleged that Devendra Fadnavis had appeared in a music video financed by a drug peddler who is currently in jail.