The Delhi Police thought they had a big case on their hands when they intercepted a phone call between two underworld henchmen plotting the murder of a former Bollywood music director. Little did they know it would lead to an even bigger case — the spot-fixing scandal.
The international call purportedly discussed the logistics of assassinating Nadeem Saifi Akhtar, of the now defunct Nadeem-Shravan duo. “It was made by Sunil Dubai, who oversees Anees Ibrahim’s extortion, gambling and real estate interests in Mumbai, to his local contact,” a special cell officer involved with the investigation told HT. “The call was intercepted by Inspector Badrish Dutt.”
Dutt was recently found dead with his live-in partner in her Gurgaon flat under mysterious circumstances. Police say there is no connection between the case and his murder.
Akhtar — behind the music of hits such as Aashiqui, Raja Hindustani and Saajan — is accused of ordering a hit on media baron Gulshan Kumar through underworld don Abu Salem more than two decades ago. He currently lives in London. Kumar, a well-known Bollywood director and owner of the T-Series brand, was gunned down outside a Mumbai temple on August 12, 1997. Nadeem was acquitted by a city court in 2003 for lack of evidence.
On the phone, Dubai reportedly revealed Ibrahim's animosity towards Akhtar, whom he held responsible for the arrest of Salem, his trusted lieutenant.
That call, in turn, was part of a larger special cell investigation into the activities of the Mumbai underworld, including connections, if any, to terror funding.
"Since it was a matter for the police force of a different city, we alerted the Intelligence Bureau and left it to their discretion. But with our interest aroused… we kept listening," the officer said.