MOST WANTED CRIMINALS
By Sonal Shah
Mumbai, Nov. 4
With the ever increasing crime rate in the city, the Mumbai police is all set to eliminate gangsters and their operations in Mumbai
The list of Most Wanted Criminals by the Mumbai police, shows that from the ten most wanted notorious gangsters, the police has already eliminated three men and they have launched a massive manhunt for the remaining seven gangsters.
Even though the police commissioner has gone on record saying that they "do not maintain a list of Most Wanted Criminals," as they do not want to give gangsters "undue publicity," the fact that The Asian Age, managed to get the Most Wanted list as well as photographs of these gangsters, proves otherwise.
From the ten gangsters listed, in the Most Wanted criminals list, the police has gunned down three of them in encounters. Commissioner of police, M.N. Singh, speaking to The Asian Age, said that the police has stopped compiling such lists to avoid giving such gangsters "undue publicity."
Commissioner of police, M.N. Singh added: "They become the source of trouble. There is no need to compile such lists since crime in the city is on the decline." However, no sooner than making the statement that the crime rate in the city has come down, Mr Singh said: "The crime has increased by 5.75 per cent.
This, considering the migrant population, which increases in the city at the rate of 1.75 per cent. Even the increase in statistics shows that more and more people are approaching the police with their problems. Earlier, the general population was phobic about the police and this prevented them from getting crimes registered."
Joint commissioner (crime), B.S. Mohite said: "We have paralysed the gangs in the city and Mumbai has not witnessed a gangwar involving the killing if underworld elements for a long time. But the police is alert and maintains a vigil on movements of people it has on its suspects' list."
DCP (Detection), Pradeep Sawant said: "We do not maintain the list of most wanted criminals anymore." However, a senior inspector, requesting anonymity, admitted that the police continues to maintain a Most Wanted list, which is circulated to all police stations in the city. But the list is not made public and is especially guarded from the media, since it would hamper investigations, as most gangsters wanted by the police, operate from outside India.
He said that most people in the list are instrumental in the functioning of criminal activities in the city, except for Suresh Manchekar, who is allegedly holed up in the neighbouring Thane district.
Noted crime lawyer, Majid Memon endorsed the view of the police commissioner. He said: "Secrecy is the hallmark of honest and effective investigation. The moment the list gets published, investigations are hampered, especially in serious cases. The recent example of Nadeem and Abu Salem are a case in point."
Another criminal lawyer, Sushil Srivastava, said that the police does maintain a most wanted list. He said: "It's easier for the police to keep track of criminals. In fact, crime in the city is on the rise and the police even maintains a record of gangsters who have been killed in encounters."
Mr Srivastava alleged that the police however, loses interest in old timers as new criminals enter the crime scene. With their entry, the police enters their names in the new list, forgetting the older version.
Explaining what priorities the police considers when compiling the list, assistant commissioner of police, Shankar Kamble said: "Such lists are based on activities of gangs in the city."
A senior inspector added: "The list changes all the time, depending on the operative levels of gangs in the city at that point in time."
The recent encounters of four Abu Salem men on October 13 and two men attached to Chhota Rajan gang in the wee hours of Thursday morning, and the alleged involvement of Rajan men in the killing of the rationing officer at Trombay, would be taken into consideration when the list is updated, a police official said.
According to the most wanted list available with The Asian Age, Chhota Rajan men top the list while Chhota Shakeel gangsters come a close second. Shakeel's men are followed by Abu Salem. Ashwin Naik and Subhash Singh Thakur tie fourth, with one gangster wanted from each gang. However, from the list of the top ten wanted criminal, three of them were killed in police encounters.
The police said that from the ten people, Nilesh Govind Kokam and Mastan Chand Shaikh, both Chhota Shakeel front men, were killed in encounters. The duo was shot dead by the Goregaon police last year, when they were on their way to eliminate an influential businessman from the area. While Kokam known for his notoriety in Mumbai, Shaikh had a case of double murder registered against him in Mangalore and a case of firing and murder in Bangalore. He has also committed several crimes in Mumbai.
Rafiq Shaikh alias Rafiq Dabbawala alias RD, the front man for Ali Budesh and Subhash Singh Thakur gangs, was eliminated last year by the deadly duo, often referred to as the encounter specialists, Daya Nayak and Pradeep Sharma, near the Asha Parekh Hospital in Santacruz.
Mr Nayak said that 88 offences were registered against RD, from which 28 offences were murders. He was involved in the firing on producer-director Rakesh Roshan after the release of Kaho... Na Pyar Hai, as well as the firing on the owner of Milton Plastic. Another businessman, Chreeranjiv Waghani, was kidnapped from Malabar Hill and was released after a ransom of Rs 5 crore was paid to RD. He had also kidnapped a child and murdered a Bangalore-based businessman, Vinnet Vachchani.
Vikrant Vishal Malhotra alias Vikky Malhotra, from the Chhota Rajan gang, started off his career by robbing people and graduated to shoot-outs. Known as a cold-blooded murderer, he had masterminded the murder of Salim Kulra, an alleged bomb blast accused and two of his aides, who he attacked and shot dead in the Bell Vue Hospital. However, one of them, who was injured in the shoot-out, managed to survive. Vikky was also involved in the killing of Amar Shetty, the owner of Canara Hotel in Malad.
Sources said that there was a rift between Aslam Beg and Vikky in Nepal and there were strong rumours that Vikky was killed as an outcome of the rift. However, he is still alive and is the front man of the Chhota Rajan gang. Sources said that Vikky had worked with Khalij Pehalwan, who had shifted his loyalties from the Dawood gang. He was also involved in several cases of extortion and narcotics and is now said to be in Dubai. Most cases registered against him are under Sections 307, 302 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.
Ijaj Lakdawala, Chhota Rajan's sharp shooter, was involved in the killing of film producer Hanif Kadavala, who was shot dead in his Bandra office, last year. Builder Majid Khan was brutally murdered by him in Bandra. He also shot dead an alleged bomb blast accused, Salim Passport. Police sources said that had been arrested and sent to Nashik Jail. However, he managed to escape near Igatpuri, while he was being brought down to Mumbai in 1999 for the hearing of a case.
Another one from the most wanted list, Lalit Vishvakarma alias Lali, is currently based in Nepal. He is the only "surviving" leading front-man from the Ashwin Naik gang. He was involved in the sensational murder of Naik's wife Neeta, and the murder of the Kurup brothers in Bhandup, last year. The brothers owned Madras Cafe and had refused to pay extortion money to him.
The police said that Mohammed Hasan alias Sunny Mehandi alias Hasan Shaikh, hails from Uttar Pradesh and is a die-hard Abu Salem loyalist. He came to Mumbai in search of a job and got involved with the crime world. He started his career with petty thefts and graduated to supplying arms and handling extortion cases for his boss.
A police source said that there are cases registered against him with the Santacruz and Juhu police stations. He said: "He worked for the Dawood gang in the early 1980s and then went with Abu Salem after Salem parted ways with Dawood. He is suspected to be holed up in Dubai."
Suresh Manchekar was instrumental in starting the trend of political killings in Mumbai and was the man behind the murder of Shiv Sena activist Wabde.
Sources said that he was allegedly given supari to kill Ashok Satedekar, but Satedekar and paid a counter supari to Rohit Verma, who killed Dr Dutta Samant in broad daylight, a few years back. He was also involved in the sensational murder of Dr Deepak Shetty in Dombivali.
The source said that Dr Shetty was killed only because he refused to pay Manchekar extortion money. Manchekar is known as the local lad among his group. He hails from Lal Ota Maidan in Parel, and was arrested by the R.A. Kidwai Marg police in 1989-90. He was involved in the theft of goods from Wadala, Sewri and Dockyard Road. Guru Satam and Manchekar worked together until they split up after the murder of Vithal Chavhan.
Manchekar was arrested and sentenced to Kalyan Jail. He began his own gang and recruited local boys. Patrick Fernandes, Prakash, Santosh Mhatre, Parab, Ajit Purav, Maharaj alias Sudhesh Ghadi, Devendra Karekar, Uday Manjrekar, Rajesh Nadkarni and Manchekar's younger brother, are all a part of his gang.
He is notorious for making extortion threats and it is said that if a builder refuses to pay the money, he ensures that work at the construction site is stalled. He had shot dead a hotelier and builder in Kolsewadi Pavse in 1996. In Dombivali, Amol Bhagwat, a builder, was shot dead as he refused to pay the extortion money. A little before he was shot dead, the gangster had ensured that construction work at most of his sites had stopped.
He then started threatening doctors for extortion. The murder of Dr Deepak Shetty is a case in point, the police said. The current Standing Committee chairperson of the Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Council, Malay Shetty, was also targeted by him. Another gangster, Navnath Tukaram Patil, was also shot dead by Manchekar. A police source said: "It is believed that Pappu Agarwal mediates with the victims on behalf of Manchekar." Manchekar is believed to be hiding in neighbouring Thane district.
Hemant Poojari, a member of the Chhota Rajan gang, is involved in over 15 murders. He was involved in the sensational killing of Jaya Shetty. He was involved in the September 15 shoot-out involving a Rajan gangster, Vinod Shetty, near Panvel. He was a resident of Khar. Poojary has also shot dead a Dawood Ibrahim loyalist, Harif Kalia and Mohammed Dossa's brother Mustafa Majnoo.
Kundansingh Rawat, a member of the Rajan gang, is known in the underworld as the most notorious gangster. He is said to be working in tandem with Poojary. He was involved in the murder of MK Builders in Bandra, as well as in the Jaya Shetty and Vinod Shetty case. He was also a resident of Khar. A police source said that he is very cruel and has a "psychotic nature."
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