Chhota aur Bada Rajan -- part I
Burly Abdul Kunju was watching a volleyball match in his stronghold at Shell Colony when Sanjay Ruggad closed in
Burly Abdul Kunju was watching a volleyball match in his stronghold at Shell Colony when Sanjay Ruggad closed in. Kunju's hawkish eyes spotted Ruggad and Vijay in the crowd but it was too late. Even before he could register who the strangers were, Ruggad had pulled out the pistol tucked under his shirt. Vijay followed suit.
They had taken Kunju by surprise. He was left with little choice but to flee, with the duo in hot pursuit.
Ruggad started firing. Kunju was unfazed by the ricocheting bullets. He continued to outrun the shooters.
Ruggad emptied his magazine -- or 'cassette' in underworld lingo -- and Vijay's gun was also empty.
Ruggad loaded another magazine as he followed Kunju. A bullet finally pierced the target's leg. Within minutes, they emptied their magazines, leaving Kunju gasping for breath. The second-line gangsters from Tilak Nagar heaved a sigh of relief.
Chhota Rajan had hired Sanjay Ruggad to eliminate Kunju and avenge the murder of his former mentor Bada Rajan. Chhota Rajan was then an understudy, black marketing tickets outside Sahakar Cinema at Tilak Nagar in Chembur. Bharat Nepali, Danny and Romesh Sharma alias Goonga were some of his close associates.
Bada Rajan did not think that a dispute over sharing Rs 1 lakh could launch a major gang-war in north Mumbai. Born Rajan Mahedev Nair, he was arrested after the daylight killing of rival gangster Amirzada. The burly Pathan was shot inside the Sessions Court in Mumbai on September 6, 1983.
Bada Rajan had masterminded the killing using David Pardesi as a shooter, to avenge the death of Dawood Ibrahim's elder brother Shabir.
Rajan asked his key associate Shashi Uchil during a 'mulakat' (meeting in jail) in Arthur Road Jail to collect money from Dawood. "Tell him to pay Rs 1 lakh."
The contract to kill Amirzada was offered by Dawood. It was mandatory for him to pay money to the gang's coffers, which also included paying for legal assistance during long detentions in prison.
It was not long before Bada Rajan's men met Dawood at his Temkar Mohalla near J J Hospital in central Mumbai. Members said Bhai was in urgent need of Rs 1 lakh.
"I was peeping through the dark glass as the two groups were engaged in serious discussion. They returned empty-handed. Dawood explained that he had already paid Rs 1 lakh to Abdul Kunju and he could not make another payment," recalled Nandu, a former associate.
Dawood's message was immediately conveyed to Bada Rajan. He asked Uchil to inform Kunju that he should meet him. Kunju was confronted with the question surrounding Rs 1 lakh. The massive gangster maintained that he used the money and did not regret it.
Kunju was known for his skill with the chopper, a weapon considered lethal in the late 1970s. He was a terror in Shell Colony, where he lived and operated.
Maverick Kunju was named in the upper echelon of Mumbai's underworld when he killed three persons in a day. Stabbing was child's play for him.
To be continued...