Firebrand politician Sanjay Raut, who played a central role in stitching alliance between ideologically disparate parties of Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP in Maharashtra, has made an explosive revelation that he had met underworld don Dawood Ibrahim many times over. In fact, Raut also stated that he once rebuked the dreaded gangster as well.
Speaking at an award function organised by Lokmat media group in Pune, Raut reminisced about his journalistic days in the yesteryears when Mumbai was “controlled” by thugs and gangsters. Raut claimed that Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel and Sharad Shetty used to control Mumbai and the adjoining areas and had a say in the appointment of Mumbai police commissioner as well as those in the Mantralaya(Secretariat).
On being asked if he had photographed underworld dons, Raut responded in affirmative, stating that he had clicked pictures of various gangsters, including Dawood Ibrahim, who was one of the key accused in the 1993 Mumbai Bomb blasts. Raut mentioned that he met Dawood many times. “I have met Dawood Ibrahim many times. I had even admonished him once,” Raut said.
In addition to this, Raut also claimed that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used to visit Mumbai to meet Karim Lala. Karim Lala was one of the three infamous dons of Mumbai in India for over three decades from the 1960s to 1980s. He operated Pathan gang from the crime-infested Muslim ghettos of South Bombay and were involved in illegal gambling, liquor dens, contract killing, illegal money recovery and other things. He died in Mumbai in 2002 at the age of 90-91.
“During those days, when Haji Mastan came 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),” claimed Raut, whose party joined hands with Congress and NCP to form a government in Maharashtra last year.