Lifestyle & Belief

India fears return of Mumbai mafia dons

In the wake of the murder of a prominent crime reporter, India fears a return of the bad old days, when Mumbai gained a reputation for daylight shootouts, police hitmen in the employ of gangsters, and mafia rule over everything from petty theft to Bollywood film productions.

In a cover story recapping the crime, India Today magazine writes:

A fortnight before motorcycle-borne assailants gunned down Jyotirmoy Dey near his home in Powai, Mumbai, the 56-year-old crime reporter met Maharashtra Home Minister, R.R. Patil. He submitted a detailed report prepared by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which chronicled the nexus between a senior Mumbai police officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Anil Mahabole, and Dawood Ibrahim's powerful sister, Haseena Parkar. The report was four years old but still relevant. In May, Mahabole had threatened Dey's colleague at Mid-Day, Tarakant Dwivedi aka Akela.

Akela was arrested under the Official Secrets Act, 1923, for exposing how assault rifles belonging to the Government Railway Police (GRP), acquired post 26/11, were placed in a damp room and unlikely to function in an emergency. Akela paid the price for exposing police ineptitude by spending five days in GRP custody and was released only after the intervention of the state government. Dey paid for the truth by losing his life. Mumbai police reacted to the murder with suspicious speed, by immediately transferring Mahabole, though Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan declared that he had not sanctioned it. Dey's murder and Mahabole's rise are mirror images of Mumbai's netherworld, revealing a toxic system where honesty counts for little and greed is considered fair game. In the Mumbai of 2011, those who speak honestly get shot, those who try to suppress facts, survive.