Lakdawala, who was on the run for the last 20 years, has been arrested and detained by Mumbai Crime Branch’s anti-extortion cell team at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. Lakdawala, who has 27 cases registered against him, has been remanded to police custody till January 21.
Lakdawala worked for underworld don Dawood Ibrahim under Chhota Rajan before forming his own gang, said the police. His daughter Sonia Lakdawala, who after her marriage, changed her name as Soniya Shaikh was arrested last month from the Mumbai Airport when “she was trying to flee the country with help of a passport acquired through fake documents,” according to the police.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve said, “We brought Ejaz to Mumbai to verify his identity and booked him at 10.30 pm. There were 25 cases of murder, attempt to murder and extortion case registered against Lakdawala in Mumbai and two in other parts of Maharashtra.” Barve hailed his arrest as a “major achievement.
Ejaz Lakdawala is a former member of the Chhota Rajan gang. Initially, Lakdawala was among the close confidants of Dawood who used to provide logistical support to D-Company members in Mumbai for extorting Bollywood film producers and businessmen. Both the Mumbai and the Delhi police wanted him in over 24 cases of extortion and attempt to murder.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Santosh Rastogi said while efforts to trace Lakdawala were intensified six months ago, the breakthrough came with the arrest of his daughter Sonia (22) on December 28. The police had gradually pushed Lakdawala into a corner after first arresting his brother Aqeel in March 2019.
In 2003, there was a rumour of him having been killed when Dawood’s gang-members, angered by his allegiance to Chhota Rajan, opened fire on him in a crowded market in Bangkok.
In May 2004, he was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada following an Interpol red corner notice for him. He was admitted to a hospital from where he escaped in June 2003 and fled to South Africa.
Reportedly, Lakdawala was heard to be last operational from Nepal where he lived under the guise of a hosiery businessman and travelled to the United States of America, Malaysia, Canada, Ghana and several countries in Europe under various aliases.
In April 2019, Ejaz’s elder brother, Akeel Yusuf Lakdawala was arrested by AEC for allegedly demanding Rs 50 lakh from a Khar-based developer on Ejaz’s instruction.
With his arrest and deportation of Chhota Rajan, there are speculation that he would play a key role in proving information about Dawood and his gang.