From a Maoist to a police informer to a dreaded gangster who amassed thousands of crores, Mohammad Nayeemuddin had come a long way before being eliminated in an encounter in Mahbubnagar district in Telangana last week.
His unexpected death is creating ripples in police and political circles as the Telangana government-constituted SIT is bringing out skeletons from his cupboard.
The police department is now admitting that Nayeemuddin alias Nayeem was used as an informer on Maoists, who have more or less been wiped out from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
“We did use Nayeem as our informer to tackle Naxalites in those days,” former director-general of police V Dinesh Reddy said, adding that it was a common practice to extract information from surrendered Maoists.
Sriram Tiwari, another retired IPS officer, said he met Nayeem “three or four times when I was heading the Special Intelligence Bureau between 1997 and 2000”.
“He was a very emotional guy and used to say that he would achieve something in his life. But never did we expect him to turn into a gangster,” Tiwari said.
Nayeem’s connections with the police apparently go beyond informing on Maoists. Apart from using him to eliminate Maoists like Eedanna, civil liberties’ leaders like Azam Ali and Purushottam, and Left activist Belli Lalitha, police had allegedly allowed him to grow into a mafia kingpin who indulged in extortions, settled land disputes and dealt in real estate.
“It is an open secret in the department that Nayeem had gifted several valuable properties, including farm houses, lands and apartments, to several top police officials in the last 10 years. But, it is very difficult to prove the underhand dealings between Nayeem and the top cops,” a senior official in the home department told HT.
The recovery of two AK-47s from Nayeem’s Puppalguda residence on the outskirts of Hyderabad, besides SLRs, pistols and country-made guns from the residences of his followers came as a shocker to investigators.
“Preliminary investigation has revealed that Nayeem had obtained one AK-47 from police sources in Chhattisgarh and another from Maharasthra,” the official said.
The SIT is said to be interrogating ACP-ranked police officials who had worked in Nalgonda and Hyderabad and are suspected to have had links with Nayeem.
The team is learnt to have fallen upon vital clues of Nayeem’s network in Maharasthra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Goa. Authorities found his hideouts in Goa and arrested his followers a couple of days back.
Besides police, Nayeem is said to have links with several political leaders belonging to various parties.
TDP minister Uma Madhava Reddy came to light prominently, but she dismissed the allegations and asked the government to go for a judicial probe.
The widow of former AP home minister A Madhava Reddy, who was killed by Maoists in 1999 has alleged that some of Nayeem’s followers are now in ruling TRS in Telangana.
Sources said in the last one year, Nayeem had started targeting TRS leaders, including some MLAs from Nalgonda district and tried to extort money from them.
“He even planned to eliminate an MLA and made threatening calls to a minister from Karimnagar district. This proved to be his nemesis. Having obviously gotten the green signal from the top, the police killed him in an encounter,” the sources said.