Neeraj Bawana — one of the Delhi’s most wanted criminals — was trying to get a passport. All for visiting and later settling down in Dubai so that he could meet and operate with his idol, Dawood Ibrahim.
“Bawana had applied for a passport under a fictitious name, ‘Suraj’, and showed himself to be a resident of Burdwan in West Bengal. He had already opened a bank account in Burdwan under the same fake name,” said a senior Delhi police officer.
“Bawana was of the opinion that he would be able to impress Dawood with his exploits in the business of extortion and the latter would provide him a safe heaven in Dubai,” the officer said.
Investigators also learnt that Bawana was planning the escape of his close associates — Naveen Bali and Amit Shukla — from police custody. The duo was running Bawana’s extortion business in Delhi and NCR.
Senior police officers said Bawana used to terrorise his potential victims, that included both legitimate businessmen and those running illegal rackets, by threatening to make them his target for shooting practice.
SN Shrivastava, special CP (special cell), said Bawana would call his potential victims to one of the three factories that belonged to his maternal uncle, former MLA Rambir Shokeen.
Bawana’s empire was famous as “Neeraj Tax” and his victims included even police personnel.
“Bawana would call his victims to one of the factories. He will then draw an imaginary human sketch on the wall and start firing at it. He would then stop for a while and tell his victims that if they would not pay him extortion money, he would put them in place of the sketch and practice shooting on them,” said an investigating officer.
Another officer shared a tale that shows how even the police personnel were terrorised by this criminal. “An industrialist had once refused to pay extortion to Neeraj Bawana and chose to approach the police instead. When he reached the police station, the duty officer’s reply shook him. The officer told him to pay ‘Neeraj Tax’, even if he wanted to register a complaint. The businessman paid the money and didn’t lodge a complaint,” the officer said.
Bawana’s parents wanted him to join the Delhi Police. Speaking to HT, Bawana’s mother, Sudesh said that it was actually her husband Prem Singh’s dream to see both his sons — Pankaj and Neeraj Bawana — becoming officers in Delhi Police. Prem Singh worked as a conductor with the DTC.
His dreams were shattered when Neeraj was arrested by the Haryana Police at a young age of 18 years for planning a dacoity in Bhiwani.
Bawana’s neighbours said after coming out of jail, he started keeping company with criminals and began consuming liquor and drugs.
“Soon, Bawana became an opium addict and to arrange money for purchasing drugs he began extorting money from factory owners and businessmen,” said a neighbour.
Read: Bawana wanted to become ‘Dawood Ibrahim’ of Delhi