A day after Sanjay Raut claimed that former prime minister Indira Gandhi used to come to meet gangster Karim Lala in Mumbai, the Shiv Sena leader said that yesteryear don used to meet her as a ‘leader of the Pathan community.’ “Many political people used to come to meet Karim Lala, times were different back then. He was a leader of the Pathan community, he had come from Afghanistan. So, people used to meet him over the problems faced by the Pathan community,” Raut said.
The Rajya Sabha MP also said that he has a lot of respect for the entire family. “The respect that I have always shown towards Indira Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi & the Gandhi family, despite being in opposition, nobody has done it. Whenever people have targeted Indira Gandhi, I have stood up for her,” he added.
Recalling days of the underworld in Mumbai, Raut, who was earlier a journalist, said gangsters like Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel, and Sharad Shetty used to have control over the metropolis and adjoining areas.
They used to decide who will be the police commissioner, who will sit in ‘Mantralaya’ (secretariat), Raut said in an interview to a media group during its award function here.
“When Haji Mastan used to come to ‘Mantralaya’, the entire ‘Mantralaya’ would come down to see him. Indira Gandhi used to come to meet Karim Lala in Pydhonie (in south Mumbai),” claimed Raut, whose party formed a coalition government with the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra last year.
Lala, who operated liquor dens, gambling and extortion rackets in Mumbai from 1960s to 1980s, died in 2002.
“Those were the days of theunderworld. Later, everybody (dons) fled the country. Now there is nothing like that,” the Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha member said.
Asked if had photographed underworld dons, Raut claimed he clicked pictures of many gangsters, including Dawood Ibrahim, who is key accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
The Sena leader also claimed that he had once rebuked Dawood Ibrahim.
“I have seen him, I have met him, I have spoken to him and I have also admonished him,” he added.
With PTI Inputs