When the state takes extreme steps that make no sense, I get curious. #Yakub Memon's hanging being scheduled for the 30th of this month, while the key accused of the #Mumbai blasts are still at large is one such bizarre move. So I went around hunting for information on what else was going on. Here are some of the things I found out. They raise more questions than answers.
Chhota Shakeel tried to kill Chhota Rajan in Australia
On the 2nd of July, Times of #India published a report that described intercepted conversations between Chhota Shakeel and a key Rajan aide, who was convinced to reveal Chhota Shakeel's whereabouts in Newcastle, Australia. Times of India claims to have a copy of the intercept. A team from middle east was allegedly immediately sent to Australia. However, Chhota Rajan had already escaped after receiving a fortuitous tip off. The article also describes the #D-Company's relentless determination to eliminate an aged Chhota Rajan who is no longer a threat to them and describes previous attacks by Dawood's men to eliminate Chhota Rajan.
Dawood was involved in Chhota Shakeel's attempt on Chhota Rajan
Another report in the Times of India, also on the 2nd July said that a voice in the background, heard during a pause in the intercepted conversation between Chhota Shakeel and Rajan's aide was that of #Dawood Ibrahim as confirmed by layered voice analysis. What the voice said is not reported.
This report also gives us an idea of the approximate date of the attempted #attack on Chhota Rajan when it speaks of Chhota Shakeel being on the move for a month since mid-April when he went to Newcastle for the attack on Chhota Rajan. The report presumes he dropped off the radar after the intercepted conversations or the intelligence agencies would have approached the #government to arrest Shakeel (but not Rajan?).
Some background: Chhota Rajan was among key men of Dawood's gang before he split from Dawood due to internal rivalry and differences that got cemented after the 1993 Mumbai blasts. After the split, he escaped to Dubai with the help of Indian intelligence agencies in return for information on Dawood Ibrahim's operations. Intelligence agencies have also allegedly helped Chhota Rajan evade attempts on his life since then. Current NSA and then ex-#IB head, Ajit Doval had also been caught once with Chhota Rajan's hit man Vicky Malhotra. Chhota Shakeel is still Dawood's key man. Chhota Rajan and Dawood Ibrahmin have since been bitter and bloody rivals with constant attempts to eliminate each other. Among India's plans for Dawood Ibrahmin remain a possibility for Chhota Rajan taking Dawood out.
An article in the Daily Mail News from November claims NSA Ajit Doval is forming links with ISIS to encourage an ISIS - TTP collaboration to destabilize Pakistan.
Given that Indian Intelligence agencies are unlikely to leave copies of intelligence intercepts lying around in public places or something, Times of India clearly got the tip off from them about a failed operation "early in the year" - as in, the news was not fresh.
Yasin Bhatkal could get help from Damascus
On 3rd July, 2015, a report in the Times of India stated that Yasin Bhatkal had told his wife that he would get help from Damascus to escape jail. This would seem unrelated to the Yakub Memon issue, except... Yasin Bhatkal used to allegedly be financed by Muzzaffar Kola of the Dossa gang which reported to..... Dawood Ibrahim.
Last year, Yasin Bhatkal's lawyer had received threats from underworld don Ravi Pujari who is currently said to be in Australia and is close to.... Chhota Rajan. Yasin Bhatkal had hardly made any news for months before this.
Chhota Shakeel reveals that Dawood Ibrahim wanted to return to India after 1993 blasts
On 4th July 2015, Times of India published a report of a telephonic interview with Chhota Shakeel in which Shakeel alleged "When we wanted to come back after 1993, you people, your government didn't allow. Bhai had himself spoken that time to Ram Jethmalani, that too in London... baat ho gayi thi... But your ministry... that Advani played the game,". This naturally led to a flurry of accusations and denials.
Other Chhota Shakeel quotes from the article:
"When agencies can hear me plotting against him (Rajan) and know where he is, why don't they get him picked up? Has he not killed people? Is he not a criminal?"
"Every time a new government comes, they make the first statement about us. Usko leke aayenge... ghus ke laayenge... Kya halwa hai? Bakri ka bachcha samajh ke rakha hai kya? Lana hai toh usko (Rajan) lao na,"
"He ran away like a mouse," Shakeel said. He claimed that not one but three key members of Rajan's group had crossed over to his side because of their confidence that they would be taken care of. "I look after even the family of Rajan's aides who had been killed by members of D-Company," (On the attack planned on Chhota Rajan reported by Times of India on the 2nd)
"Haven't killed anyone in Mumbai in the past 5-6 years. I don't want to kill innocents. He (Rajan) brings shooters from UP and gets people killed in our name. I want to continue my business. I invest money and take it back." From another report of the same interview.
On Chhota Raja's image as a Hindu gangster "This is #media's job. Take him in the army, send him on the border if he is a patriot. (Patriot hai to army me le lo na... border pe bhejo na! Mulq ke liye kaam karega. Hindu don ka concept #aap logo ka... media ka hai. He has killed all Hindus for money,"
On whether he thinks Indian intelligence agencies are soft on Chhota Rajan "We don't care. They can support him all they want, we will find him and kill him."
* An earlier interview by Chhota Shakeel to Rediff (after their first attempt on Chhota Rajan's life in Bangkok) establishes that the D-Company sees him as a traitor who grew large with their favor and betrayed them as well as stole gold from them.
** The part about Chhota Rajan killing Hindus in India is true. Among recent high profile murders is that of Jyotirmoy Dey, an investigative journalist working for MiD DAY. He is wanted in India in many criminal cases related to extortion, #murder, smuggling, drug trafficking and film finance.
*** Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel are no saints either.
Chhota Rajan still in Australia
On the 5th of June, Times of India published another news report citing an unnamed source in the intelligence agencies that Chhota Rajan was still in Australia and had not left Australia (as reported in previous piece). Chhota Shakeel also was apparently aware of this fact and had not called off his hit men tracking Chhota Rajan in Australia.
Yasin Bhatkal claims threat to life and demands 24/7 surveillance
On 6th July, 2015, Yasin Bhatkal pled before a special court for NIA cases for CCTVs to be installed in his #prison and for constant surveillance not only in jail, but also when being moved to court and back for hearings. Outside the jail, he pulled a letter from his pocket and threw it at reporters standing there. In the letter, he denies telling his wife about any help from Damascus or for escaping jail and fears that he could be killed in an encounter staging his escape.
#Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea to bring Dawood Ibrahim back
8th July, 2015. The Supreme Court dismissed a plea by a previous Madhya Pradesh #MLA to bring Dawood Ibrahim back to India and that a special investigating team headed by SC judge be set up to probe why indian authorities were unwilling in bringing tje don back to country to face trial in various cases.
Daya Nayak suspended
9th July, 2015. Daya Nayak of the 83 encounters and disproportionate wealth and dubious dealings was suspended after he refused to go to Nagpur after he was transferred, citing a threat to his life.
#Death warrant for Yakub Memon
On 15th July, 2015, a TADA court signed a death warrant for Yakub Memon, even as his mercy petition was pending in court.
Supreme Court turns down Yakub Memon's mercy petition.
22nd July 2015 Supreme Court turns down Yakub Memon's mercy petition "paving the way for his hanging" as expressed by the media.
White House Bar was demolished
28th July 2015, The White House dance bar, run by Ganesh Kamath, understood to be affiliated with Chhota Rajan's gang and owned by Meenakshi Singh, widow of Chhota Rajan's affiliate O P Singh, was demolished.
Supreme Court turned down Yakub Memon's curative petition
29th July The Supreme court turned down Yakub Memon's curative petition. The #Maharashtra governor turned it down as well. The President's decision is awaited, but the indications are that the MHA is recommending against it. Other eminent persons are seeking an audience for another petition.
Yakub Memon hanged
30th July 2015. Yakub Memon was hanged early in the morning, on his 53rd birthday in Nagpur jail.
Is Yakub Memon's death warrant a message?
Numerous reports indicate that after the #BJP came to power this time, the gangwar is heating up again (if at all it ever cooled). Ajit Doval has a long term mission of bringing Dawood Ibrahim down. The D-Company, on the other hand seems to have stepped up the heat on Chhota Rajan, perceiving him to be an asset of the Indian intelligence (apart from their usual issues with him).
Yakub Memon is the brother of Tiger Memon, though the only place his name appears in relation with the underworld is the case where he's now got the death sentence. Both gangsters and their gangs have extensive networks in India. For example I later discovered from a source that the illegal White House dance bar, where the journalists were attacked and Raghavendra Dube got killed is a front for Chhota Rajan's activities. The source speculated that the journalists could have been attacked for trying to extort advertising revenue (as the #police too had accused) from the biggies of extortion, so to say. Four aides of Chhota Rajan were arrested from Dahisar by Mumbai police for extorting 15 crores from a businessman.
Ram Jethmalani stated that #Indian politicians opposed the move to bring Dawood Ibrahim back to India when he had offered to return, fearing that their connections with him would be exposed. Sharad Pawar claimed that he refused Dawood Ibrahim's offer to return because one of the conditions of his return was that he would not go to jail! Apparently it was one thing to break a promise to Yakub Memon, sidekick with dubious culpability in actual attacks and quite another to bring the kingpin Dawood Ibrahim to India under false pretenses and then break a promise. South Africa had provided a RAW officer intel on fake identities used by Dawood Ibrahim as early as 1994. V Balachandran shares that the Indian government took his report and sat on it to date.
The Sunday guardian reports that according to US intelligence, 26/11 would not have been possible without Dawood Ibrahim's extensive network and contacts in India. Yet not only did an investigation into the Indian angle never happen, the sole attacker captured was put to death in a clandestine manner. Various people had raised questions around this at various times, from the Mossad conspiracy angle brought up by Great Game India blog to questions around Karkare's death and random anomalies like reports of a woman accompanying an attacker or white skinned attackers. Who was being protected and why?
Chhota Rajan indeed owes his survival to Indian intelligence agencies who are rumored to even tip off his people about raids by Mumbai police and seem to be counting on him to eliminate Dawood Ibrahim, even as threats, murders and crimes by his people in India mount. India has never issued a red corner notice against him, regardless of his crimes. Maharashtra government had briefly made a noise about asking #CBI to issue a red corner notice against him in the wake of the high profile murder of Jyotirmoy Dey by his hit men, and that news appears to have sunk without a trace, since. Indian intelligence clearly knew where Chhota Rajan was, when Chhota Shakeel called the hit on him. Yet the news reports only indicate that Shakeel would be arrested with the help of Australian government if he hadn't dropped off the radar. Why was there no question of Chhota Rajan being arrested?
These are both dangerous gangs that have committed crimes in India engaged in a blood feud.
Is the Yakub Memon death warrant or Yasin Bhatkal's claim of threat to his life in a staged encounter, coming on the heels of Chhota Shakeel's attempts on Chhota Rajan a message "to whomsoever-it-may-concern" to lay off Chhota Rajan "or your people could die"? Is it a way of getting Tiger Memon to pressure his associates to back off from their chase of Chhota Rajan?
More importantly for India, is our system becoming a pawn in a gang war?
Note: I am no expert on the underworld, and this is merely a compilation from news reports in the public domain.