Bullets the answer to most underworld disputes | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Bullets the answer to most underworld disputes

mumbai Updated: May 20, 2011 01:01 IST
Shailendra Mohan

The six shots that rang out on Pakmodia street on Tuesday night is just another chapter in the bloodthirsty history of the Mumbai underworld, where pulling the trigger is the oft-used way of settling a dispute.

The gunning down of Sabir, Dawood Ibrahim's brother, on February 12, 1983 was the first instance of the use of firearms in the history of Mumbai's underworld to settle a dispute, said crime experts and veteran cops.

Gang rivalry had prompted the Pathan brothers, Ameerzada and Alamzeb, along with some accomplices, to kill Sabir. Since then, the use of guns is seen as the only way out in case of a dispute.

Shankar Kamble, former assistant commissioner of police, said the underworld is synonymous with violence.

"When legal recourses or compromises fail, people turn to the underworld. And that's where the violence and arm-twisting begin. The underworld mechanism is all about eliminating anyone who comes in the way," said Kamble, adding that the city's ganglords don't have the reputation of trying to sort out matters peacefully.

However, it's no longer possible to identify the gang behind a murder or attack on the basis of the make of a pistol.

"There was a time when we would establish the involvement of say the Dawood gang by the fact that they used China-made Star pistols. But these days, almost every gang has access to all kinds of weapons," said a crime branch officer, requesting anonymity.

Recalling the watershed moments in the city's underworld history, another crime branch officer said that while carbines were first known to be used in 1992 at the JJ hospital shootout (Shailesh Haldankar, an Arun Gawli gang member, was killed), the AK47 was first used by the underworld to kill gangster Ashok Joshi at Panvel in 1995.

The murder of gangster Babu in March 1987 involved the use of hand grenades.

"He was murdered inside the Jacob Circle police lock-up using hand grenades," the police officer said.

YC Pawar, former additional commissioner is one of the very few people who said that at times people in the underworld have come to a consensus and refrained from violence.

"I can't recall a particular instance but at times issues have been sorted through negotiation," he said.