In our last edition we had informed you about Ashwin Naik gang’s recent activities and how all the gangsters come together in Mumbai. How Chhota Rajan and Bada Rajan came together. Here further Bada Rajan decided to expand his activities by taking control over the black marketing operations at Odeon. He made an offer of a 50 per cent partnership to Chandu and he accepted it. Inspite of this, however, the next day, Rajan ordered two of his associates to take charge. The duo slapped one of Chandu’s men in front of his entire gang. The move had the desired effect and allowed Bada Rajan’s men to seize control over the black marketing operations at Odeon, retaining the entire profit. This, however, did not sit well with rival don Yashwant Jadhav and his younger brother Sanjay of Ghatkopar East. Jadhav’s association with gangster Philip Pandhare made him a force to reckon with. In the past, Pandhare’s men had once stabbed Bada Rajan in a local train, crippling him for some time.
The conflict further escalated when gangsters Dominic, Bada Tambi, Ashok Kunte, Parliya, Kamlakar, Sanjiva Bhosle and Yeda Bala broke away from the Rajan gang and joined hands with Jadhav. Thereafter, a gang of eight members, headed by Chhota Rajan, set out in autorickshaws looking for Dominic, who was hiding at Odeon. Rajan and his associates were interrupted by Bhogilal at the gate when they tried to barge into the hall to kill Dominic. Rajan repeatedly stabbed him and was followed by other members. They even injured police constables Ramchandra Khare and Gorakhnath Sakpal in the ensuing melee.
Within the next two years, seven gangsters were killed in the resulting gang-war between the two gangs. Finally, Bada Rajan sought the help of Varadarajan Mudaliar. He used his power to threaten Jadhav. Desperate, he turned for help to a gangster named Abdul Kunju. Abdul Kunju had a bitter and long standing enmity with Bada Rajan. It all started when Bada Rajan sent his men to assault some youth in Shell Colony, Chembur, for harassing a woman typist. This incident developed into a deadly rivalry with Kunju. Both Kunju and Rajan had sworn to kill each other.
Aware of Rajan’s enormous power in the areas between Ghatkopar and Matunga, Kunju realised that he could not fight the Rajan gang on his own. Therefore, he allied himself with Bada Rajan’s rival, Philip Pandhare. Pandhare’s gang was further strengthened when Vijay Sawant and Francis Xavier, also known as “Shorty”, from Pestom Sagar enlisted with them. After Amirzada Nawab Khan was assassinated outside the sessions court premises on 6 September 1983 by Bada Rajan’s hitman, David Pardesi, Kunju switched sides and allied himself with Kalia Anthony and Mahesh Dolakia of the Karim Lala gang to murder Bada Rajan.
Kunju’s neighbour, an autorickshaw driver named Chandrashekar Safalika, who was looking to make Rs. 5 million for his sister’s wedding, was hired for the job. He was introduced to hotelier, Mahesh Dholakia at Caesar Palace. Dholakia offered around Rs. 5 million as “supari” (murder contract fee) and promised to give the entire money on successful killing of Rajan. Safalika was left with only Rs. 100,000. The next day, Kunju provided Safalika with a revolver, and converted an isolated spot near Vikhroli Park site into a firing range. He was trained for the next 15 days by Ramesh Pujari, Mangesh More and Francis a.k.a. “Kaliya Anthony” (Blackie Anthony).
In a daring operation, Safalika dressed as a naval cadet with his gun hidden in the cavity of a thick book, stalked Bada Rajan outside the Esplanade court and shot him dead. The hit was carried out on 21 September 1983, exactly 15 days after Amirzada’s murder. Safalika was caught on the spot, but managed to escape while he was being escorted to the Thane prison and was killed by the rivals later (though the police claimed to have him dead).The murder of Bada Rajan dealt a devastating blow to his gang. His right hand man and successor, Chhota Rajan was shattered at the loss of his mentor and swore retribution against the assassins.
It was well known that Abdul Kunju was a cricket enthusiast and often managed a good-sized crowd to come and watch him play. This gave Chhota Rajan the opportunity to use Kunju’s own passion against him. During one such match in 1985, as Kunju hit a boundary, three young gangsters dressed in T-shirts and sneakers, including Sanjay Raggad, Sadhu Shetty and Chhota Rajan himself, entered the arena on the pretext of retrieving the ball. After doing so, they walked right up to Kunju, pulled out their guns and shot him dead at point blank range. Another report suggests that Chhota Rajan sent Sanjay Raggad and Vijay to shoot down Kunju when he was watching a volleyball match. On spotting the two assailants, Kunju fled the match venue with the duo in pursuit. Eventually, Raggad and Vijay sprayed an array of bullets into Kunju’s body that left him dead.
After Kunju’s death, Dholakia went back on his word and refused to deliver the remaining Rs. 4.90 million, leaving the now fugitive Safalika helpless. In desperation, he turned to the Thane-based goon Abdul Majid for help. Majid invited him over for a treat at a bar in Thane, which in actuality was owned by Sadhu Shetty. Safalika got very drunk and stayed at the bar overnight. In the meanwhile, Shetty tipped off Chhota Rajan to his whereabouts and Safalika was woken up at around 4 a.m. by Rajan’s henchmen. He was then driven in a Fiat car to Dawood Ibrahim’s younger brother, Noora’s hideout at Nagpada. There he was viciously interrogated, tortured and subsequently murdered the next day.
Now, Arun Gawli became politician and is in jail for murdering Shiv Sena’s corporator. Dawood Ibrahim is declared as the most wanted gangster by Interpol. Chhota Rajan and Abu Salem were deported from different countries and are in jail under judicial custody. Recently Ashwin Naik got caught by police again for extortion. All are either in jail or away from the country but fear and threat still rocks the crime world with these dons. Here I conclude my two parts on Underworld.
With Inputs from various sources