MUMBAI: The economic crisis has hit not just companies and investors in the city, but also the underworld.
Senior crime branch officers said several gangsters are feeling the pinch as they have benami investments. "These gangsters, especially from Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan gangs, have got frontmen whom they refer as sleeping partners,'' said a senior officer from the anti-extortion cell.
The deal is simple. The ill-gotten black money of the underworld is invested by frontmen, who get 30% of the profits on the investments. For the remaining 70%, the underworld reaps its dividends every month.
Said another senior crime branch officer, "Also, with the slowdown in real estate, gangsters are finding it difficult to extort money from builders who are already in deep crisis.''
While the mafia has begun extortion in a big way in Navi Mumbai and Thane, Mumbai's extortion graph has gone down in the past few years. This year, the police hardly have records of threats from Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan gangs, with cases only pertaining to Ravi Pujari and Hemant Pujari.
"We had successfully crippled the underworld activities in the past. And we will not allow anybody to raise their heads and recoup in Mumbai,'' a top police official said.
In the late '90s, the crime branch had taken part in the maximum number of encounter killings, which had claimed lives of top-rung henchmen and extortionists of underworld gangs. The killings, combined with firearms seizures and detentions under the stringent MCOCA, had nearly wiped out the underworld. But some of the gangs, with their bosses ensconced abroad, continue to exist even today and the police are keeping a vigil on their activities.
6 months ago