The statement of senior Shiv Sena leader and spokesman of the party, Nitin Raut that he has seen gangster Dawood Ibrahim and met him, is really a serious issue and it clearly established the underworld’s close links with politicians and journalists.
Raut not only said that he had a link with Dawood, but claimed that former prime minister Indira Gandhi used to come to meet yesteryear don Karim Lala in Mumbai.
Recalling days of the underworld in Mumbai, Raut, who was earlier an active reporter, said gangsters like Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel and Sharad Shetty used to have control over the metropolis and adjoining areas.
In an interactive session with a media group in its award ceremony programme, held at Pune, he even claimed that these underworld gangsters used to decide who will be the police commissioner of Mumbai and who will sit in ‘Mantralaya’ (secretariat).
According to Raut, when Haji Mastan used to come to ‘Mantralaya’, the entire ‘Mantralaya’ would come down to see him. Indira Gandhi used to come to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai). Lala, who operated liquor dens, gambling and extortion rackets in Mumbai from 1960s to 1980s, died in 2002.
“Those were the days of the underworld. Later, everybody (dons) fled the country. Now there is nothing like that,” the Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha member said. Asked if he had photographed underworld dons, Raut claimed he clicked pictures of many gangsters, including Dawood Ibrahim, who is key accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
The Sena leader also claimed that he had once reprimanded Dawood Ibrahim. “I have seen him, I have met him, I have spoken to him and I have also admonished him,” he added.
The statements of Raut are now news in the state. How can a tall politician, like Indira Gandhi used to come in Mumbai to meet Karim Lala? Such controversies could have be avoided and it was not expected from an editor and Rajya Sabha member, Sanjay Raut!