Ex-Dawood and ex-Rajan aide Ejaz Lakdawala falls in police net
Underworld gangster who was on the run for two decades was finally arrested by Mumbai Crime Branch from Patna; appeared in court without a lawyer
The multiple identities, locations and personalities failed to work this time around for underworld don Ejaz Lakdawala who was finally nabbed by the Mumbai Police in Patna on Wednesday. The gangster, on the run for two decades, was earlier part of the Chhota Rajan and Dawood Ibrahim gangs and had been running his own underworld racket for the last few years.
Lakdawala, who barely even attended school as a child, learnt English over the years and even mastered an English accent along with adapting to the lifestyle of several countries that he made home at different points. According to the police, he also changed his look with every new home and created these fake identities.
Akshay Pritamdas Bhatia and Manish Advani are some of the many names Lakdawala used to hide his identity until he was arrested by Mumbai Crime Branch's four-member team led by DCP Shahji Umap at a bus stop in Patna.
Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve has applauded his team for the accomplishment in getting hold of the gangster who has 25 extortion cases registered against him in Mumbai and two in rest of Maharashtra. The accused was produced in court on Thursday and was remanded to police custody till January 21. Lakdawala was not represented by a lawyer in the court on Thursday. "At this juncture, I don't need any legal aid," he told the court.
The commissioner said the arrest of Lakdawala's daughter on December 28 for using a fraudulent passport and extortion, helped the cops trace the gangster. Jt CP Crime, Mumbai Police, Santosh Rastogi said that during interrogation, Lakdawala's daughter gave crucial information about her father. The police also got a concrete tip-off about Lakdawala's visit to Patna on January 8.
Who is Lakdawala?
After splitting up with Chota Rajan, Lakdawala had formed his own gang and was operating it from Canada, Malaysia and Nepal. "He had made his last extortion call on January 3 threatening a Bandra-based builder for money," a senior officer told mid-day.
Lakdawala had first joined D Company but always had his loyalties towards the Hindu dons of that era. When Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan parted ways, Lakdawala chose Chota Rajan.
He later left India in 1988 for Dubai and returned home in 1993. In 1996, he allegedly shot Fareed Rajji, one of the accused in the 1993 Mumbai blast case and was arrested by Mumbai Police but escaped in 1998 when he was taken to JJ Hospital for a medical check-up.
He was on the run ever since. When Chota Rajan was attacked in 2000 by Dawood's men in Bangkok, Lakdawala also got injured. He later went to Ghana, Cambodia, UK, USA, Canada, Nepal.
Home minister wants to reward cops
Home minister Anil Deshmukh wants to reward the Mumbai police team for the arrest of Lakdawala. He said on Thursday that the supervising officers and their subordinates involved must be congratulated and appreciated for the hard work.
Deshmukh said this at Mantralaya in the presence of joint commissioners of city police Vinay Choubey (law and order) and Santosh Rastogi (crime) who are instrumental in leading the operation.
"Some 25 cases of extortion cases are registered against the criminal. He also faces 84 other cases including four under MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act) crimes," said the minister.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe