Weeks before senior police officer Neeraj Kumar was to retire in July 2013 he got a phone call. “Kya saheb, aap retire hone ja rahe ho, ab toh peecha chhod do (What sir? You are about to retire, at least stop chasing me now),” said a familiar sounding voice on the phone.
The caller was “in all probability” India’s most wanted criminal Dawood Ibrahim, says Kumar. Kumar got the call on his personal cellphone when as Delhi Police commissioner he was supervising the probe into the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal. The caller hung up before Kumar could respond and perhaps left a veiled threat from the mob boss hinting at the police officer’s impending retirement and subsequent withdrawal of security cover. Kumar was bemused but he ensured that Dawood was charge sheeted in the case.
That anecdote is from ‘Dial D for Don’, the long-anticipated book written by Kumar, a 1976 batch retired IPS officer of Union Territories cadre. The book is an account of 11 headline-grabbing investigations Kumar conducted during his nine-year-long stint in the CBI. The most riveting of those accounts is Kumar’s conversations with Dawood when he was supervising the probe into the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.
Hindustan Times had first reported in May this year about Kumar’s three conversations with Dawood Ibrahim in 1994 in which the gangster pleaded his innocence in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. The intermediary was Manish Lala, considered as the Dawood gang’s legal advisor, who told Kumar that the mob boss might be willing to surrender.
Kumar could not continue the conversations as his then boss, whom he hasn’t named in the book, asked him to stop as it could have started a rivalry with intelligence agencies. That was the end of Kumar’s conversations with Dawood till the gangster spoke to him again in June 2013.
Kumar has given a detailed account of his three conversations with Dawood in which the crime boss told him that had he been behind the Mumbai blasts, he would have ensured, like the main accused Tiger Memon, to extract his family members from the city.
The gangster added he would have carried out blasts in a manner that there would have been no evidence against him. And also he didn’t need to sent weapons from Pakistan for the whole operation as his boys have enough weapons but the Don didn’t have any answer when Kumar said his boys do possess high-quality RDX explosive, used in the blasts.
Dawood also told him that his younger brother Anees had sent weapons to actor Sanjay Dutt who allegedly wanted them for his security in the wake of communal riots in the city. Dawood claimed Anees did this without informing him and when he got to know about it he thrashed him.
In another account on the deportation of criminal-turned-Jehadi and main accused in the 2002 American Centre shootout case of Kolkata, Aftab Ansari, from Dubai, Kumar wrote about his former accomplice Raju Anadkat who decided to leave the life of criminal after being deported back along with Ansari.
Kumar says Anadkat, once wrongly released on bail from a Jaipur prison, Anadkat decided to contact a CBI official to sent him back to custody as he wanted to face trial in all cases pending against him and start life afresh. Kumar says Anadkat pleaded with the CBI official to give him an extra day to come back in the custody as he wanted to visit Pushkarji Temple of Lord Vishnu, a couple of hours from Jaipur. The CBI official agreed and true to his words, Anadkat was present in the CBI headquarter on appointed time.
Kumar says Anadkat is now living a quite life in Gujarat. His daughter is studying in Indian Institute of Management and son runs a flourishing shipping business.