From climbing his bathroom window to escape the police, to becoming a Robinhood for Dagdi chawl residents, gangster Arun Gawli’s life has been a roller coaster ride of sorts.
Gawli’s father Gulabrao moved from Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh to Dagdi chawl in Mumbai in the early 1950s.
Owing to his poor financial condition, Gawli was forced to drop out of school in Class 5 and take up his family business of supplying milk, around Saat Raasta area.
In the 1980s, he worked for Rama Naik’s gang and was soon entrusted the responsibility of providing protection to Dawood Ibrahim’s consignments. Soon, he gave up his job at Khatau mills and joined the Amar Naik gang.
Gawli was first arrested in 1986 for the murder of criminal Parasnath Pandey and Sashi Rasham, the kingpin of the Cobra Gang.
After a fallout between Rama Naik and Dawood Ibrahim over a plot of land at Jogeshwari, in which Rama Naik got killed, Gawli become Dawood’s arch enemy.
His brother, Bappa Gawli, was butchered by Dawood’s men.
To avenge the killing, Gawli killed Dawood’s brother-in-law Ibrahim Parkar in the early 1990s. Though Dawood’s men plundered his house in the subsequent period, Gawli managed to escape each time.gave cops a slip
During the tenure of commissioner Arvind Inamdar, the police discovered Gawli’s extraordinary knack to escape from the police net.
The policemen involved in the operation found Gawli, known as the Daddy of the underworld, inside the drawer of a bed in one of the single-room tenements at Dagdi chawl, with a gun by his side.
He was booked under Tada that kept him in prison for nine years.
During his stay in jail, Gawli and his gang gained prominence. The killing of Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh More, Balasaheb Thackeray’s confidante Jayant Jadhav and minority commission chief and MLA Ziauddin Bukhari gave Gawli and his gang the required notoriety.
Around 1997, with the soaring crime graph and police pressure, Gawli floated his own party the Akhil Bharatiya Sena. In 2004, Gawli contested the Assembly elections in Maharashtra and was elected from Dagdi chawl as an MLA.
The last straw in Gawli’s life as an MLA came after he contracted killers to murder Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar in 2007.