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Mumbai Underworld

Mumbai is said to be the commercial capital of India and is the capital of the state of Maharashtra. Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, flourishes on prostitution, drugs and extortion.

The mafia or underworld domain took off in the 1940s when there was an influx of immigrants into Mumbai. These immigrants lived in communities forming their own quarters in the city. A number of immigrants, with no work or money, soon organized themselves. The name synonymous with Mumbai underworld in 1940s was Pathan Karim Lala who formed an empire with bootlegging and gambling. He was followed by a Tamil immigrant Varadarajan Mudaliar who used the then socialist regimes policies to his benefit. It is said that a close aide of Varadarajan Mudaliar was imprisoned during 1975-77 during the Emergency era in India in 1975-1977. Mastan Mirza, more popularly known as Haji Mastan, played his part in ensuring that gambling becomes a structured business.

These three Mafia dons had good standing with their communities and looked after their interests. However, after the collapse of the cotton mill industry in Mumbai in 1980s, the Mumbai underworld took a different turn.

Dawood Ibrahim an immigrant from the Konkan region and an associate of Haji Mastan formed the D-Company. This Mumbai underworld don masterminded the 1993 Mumbai blasts in which hundreds of innocent people lost their lives. This was in retaliation to the Bombay religious riots. This caused a lot of friction within his group and eventually led to the split in the D-Company. Chotta Rajan (literally translated as Little Rajan), Dawood Ibrahim’s lieutenant, started his own gang after the Mumbai blasts and managed to get support from the right-wing Hindu nationalist politicians. Dawood Ibrahim was forced to flee the country and it is reported that he now lives in Karachi in Pakistan.

Today, the Mumbai underworld is completely fragmented with different groups trying to fight for supremacy. Abu Salem, another notorious personality from Mumbai underworld, was extradited in November 2005 from Portugal along with his starlet girlfriend Monica Bedi. Abu Salem is awaiting trial for supplying explosives and ammunition for the 1993 Mumbai blasts while his girlfriend has been imprisoned on a passport forgery charges. It is rumored that another Mumbai underworld don, Chotta Shakeel is based in South East Asia. His whereabouts are unknown. Arun Gawli, a Mumbai underworld don, now runs his own political party in Mumbai and is member of the state assembly in Maharashtra.

The Mumbai underworld is rumored to have links with the Bollywood industry. It is believed that the Mumbai underworld is financing films in the popular entertainment business and using it as a source to white wash ill-gotten gains.



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