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Lure of glamorised crime

It may be mentioned that initially mafia indulged in unlawful activities but soon entered into lawful trades such as timber, constructions, heavy engineering, labour unions, banking, law firms, shopping malls, real estate etc. In fact, mafia hire professional and ordinary workers from the market.

india Updated: May 14, 2006 01:03 IST

It may be mentioned that initially mafia indulged in unlawful activities but soon entered into lawful trades such as timber, constructions, heavy engineering, labour unions, banking, law firms, shopping malls, real estate etc. In fact, mafia hire professional and ordinary workers from the market. Thus a lower level worker may not know at all as to whom he is working for. A mafia starts at a local level, settling disputes and dispensing quick justice, rapidly accumulating money and power. Money so acquired is partially ploughed back in acquiring weapons and developing such network of activities which may not be strictly legal but soon the ill-gotten money also is invested in legitimate business. In the new business, he often bullies and overtakes his professional rivals by corrupt practices. Gradually the influence of a particular mafia may be so strong that he has monopoly in a particular area or a trade.

Mafia activities seem to flourish in multi-religious, multi-racial, democratic countries where bureaucracy is labyrinthine, police powers inept and criminal justice system slow. The universal modus operandi of mafia therefore is to hire street level workers on a marginally better pay by glamorizing crime, cheating and drug addiction. The workers and supervisors of mafia groups are given instructions verbally or on telephones. Bribe and intimidation, if necessary, violence against police, witnesses and even judges may be resorted to. The Anglo-Saxon laws, with strong emphasis on freedom and individual rights on one hand and the burden of proof on the prosecution on the other, make conviction of the mafia members extremely difficult. Since the instructions to carry out unlawful acts are transmitted verbally or on telephones, irrefutable documentary evidence rarely surface against the Boss or the patriarch or the real perpetrator of the crime. By eliminating and/or threatening witnesses and hiring best of lawyers, acquittal is secured. Hence, mafia have become powerful enough since the last World War to run casino cities and own  islands.

With an eye for public charity and open purse, they overawe the public, press, and politicians and remain elusive to police, prosecution and judiciary. Mafia follows a simple principle that judicious use of terror and violence are imperative to illicit trades and though unlawful activity is unacceptable to people but the money made out of unlawful activities are acceptable to most. Soon with unlawfully earned money, mafia move in like predators and drive away honest and law-abiding people from their professions and trades.