Don Abdul Latif gang member Mohammad Hussain alias Tempo and his associate were arrested by Ahmedabad Crime Branch. Eight pistols and 62 cartridges were seized from be duo. Mohammad Hussain Munna Sheikh alias Tempo (50) is a resident of Behrampura, Ahmedabad and his driver Sarfaraz Mohammad Patel alias Shafi Amdavadi (35) of Surat were arrested with the huge cache of arms and ammunition. The duo would hide the arms in Dargahs where they would take refuge in. Some of these were reportedly recovered.
Crime Branch PI P B Desai’s squad got a tipoff that Mohammad Hussain alias Tempo was carrying illegal weapons in a car and was heading from Hathijan circle towards Narol via Jashodanagar crossroads. Subsequently, the police was keeping an eye on the movement. When they stopped Hussain’s car, they recovered 3 pistols, 22 cartridges and one magazine.
Tempo has been associated with Abdul Latif gang. During interrogation he revealed that they had buried more arms at a Dargah in Dholka in Ahmedabad. From that Dargah, police recovered 2 pistols, 20 cartridges and 2 magazines.
During interrogation he revealed he had bought the weapons to threaten people who bought land or started construction on Ashrafpir Bawa ni Dargah where his spiritual teacher lived. After his spiritual teacher died, Tempo lost the case against the trustees of the dargah in court.
Mohammad Hussain alias Tempo
Turns out, Tempo was associated with don Abdul Latif gang and since 1986, he has been involved in numerous murders, extortion and kidnappings cases. Tempo had also allegedly hidden arms in a Dargah in Surat. He was arrested in 2012 and was named as the kingpin behind the attacks on a slum settlement of rag pickers, mostly Bengalis, of Fatehwadi near Juhapura. Later in October 2013 he was again arrested with two guns. He was at that time wanted in a major theft that took place in Vatva area of the city. In 2010, he produced a Gujarati film named ‘Maathabhare’ (notorious) and even played the lead role in it. However, the film never made it to theatres.
Don Abdul Latif, who won elections while being in jail
Dreaded don Abdul Latif was a ferocious and dangerous criminal who lived in Ahmedabad in the 80s and 90s. He was involved in various criminal activities such as bootlegging, extortion, kidnapping, murder. He was born in Ahmedabad’s Kalupur area in 1951 in a poor Muslim family. One of seven children of his father, he couldn’t get a decent upbringing and struggled to finish school. He was soon employed by his father at his shop, where he sold tobacco, but he started fighting with his father for more money. After getting into his 20s, he decided to go his own way.
To make quick money, he took the criminal route and started bootlegging and joined notorious bootlegger Allah Rakha who also ran a gambling den. Latif was first employed at the gambling den. He then left Allah Rakha and joined a rival gambler, but parted ways with him too after being accused of theft.
He then became a bootlegger himself, and that’s where his journey into the world of crime, politics, and terrorism started. As a bootlegger, he established contacts and relationships with smugglers, criminals, policemen and politicians who helped and allowed this illegal business to flourish. He soon expanded his network and got involved in other crimes like extortion, kidnapping and even murders. He even established contacts in Pakistan.
It is reported that Latif’s gang was almost exclusively made up of Muslim members only, which was not the case of other criminal gangs in those times. Perhaps he did it to cultivate a Robinhood type of image among poor Muslims – a community he was born in. And it worked. Latif could win in five municipal wards in local body elections of Ahmedabad in 1986-87. He was in jail at that time. Though he was later disqualified.
However, due to his influence over the Muslim community, he soon started getting close to mainstream politicians, especially from Congress. His proximity with the Congress party was evident as Hasan Lala, President of Gujarat Youth Congress in those times, was his childhood friend.
In August 1992, Ahmedabad saw AK-47s being used in a gang-war that left 9 people dead in Radhika Gymkhana. Latif’s gang members had gone there to kill one Hansraj Trivedi, but since they didn’t recognise him, they killed everyone. The orders to kill everyone came from Latif. The city was shocked at this naked display of terror.
After 1992 communal riots which took place following the demolishing of disputed structure at Ayodhya often referred to as Babri Masjid, Latif joined hands with Dawood Ibrahim. Latif was also seen as the product of the policy of Muslim appeasement by the Congress party, which allowed such criminals to grow for petty political gains.
The BJP made Latif and his criminal activities an election issue in the early 1990s. In 1995, BJP formed its own government in Gujarat and the same year later Latif was arrested in Delhi following a two month long operation led by the Anti Terrorism Squad of Gujarat Police. Latif was lodged in Sabarmati Jail of Ahmedabad subsequently, and two years later, he was killed in an encounter when he tried to flee from the police custody.