Shooter Rashid Malabari recounts how Dawood planned, executed hit on Chhota Rajan
The plot to kill Rajan was finalised in August 2000 when Shakeel called Malabari and instructed him to kill Rajan in September.Updated: Jul 02, 2018, 11:54 IST
In one of the most audacious attacks in the ugly annals of Mumbai’s underworld, four assailants handpicked by the Dawood gang attempted to kill gangster Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan at an apartment at Sukhumvit near Bangkok in Thailand on September 15, 2000.
Rajan escaped alive with three bullets lodged in his intestine, thigh and behind. His survival was made possible by his close aide Rohit Verma, who took 32 bullets by shielding him.
One of the four shooters was Abdul Rashid Hussein alias Rashid Malabari, known for hitting bull’s eye.
He was deported from Dubai in 2009 and arrested by the Karnataka police. During investigation, he revealed to cops how the plot to kill Rajan was hatched. HT has a copy of his statement and other documents.
Here is what he told cops about the murder attempt.
In December 1999, Chhota Shakeel, operational chief of the Dawood gang, asked Malabari to go to Bangkok. Fahim Machmach, another Dawood aide, gave him flight tickets, travel documents and $2,000.
Malabari checked into a hotel in Sukhumvit, a 40-minute drive from Bangkok. The accommodation was arranged by a man with D-company connections, Yusuf Chacha. Malabari had stayed in the hotel from December 1999 to April 2000, and rarely left it.
Yusuf took him to a Pakistani national, Sohel, who gave him three pistols and 40 live cartridges.
In June, Shakeel called Malabari and told him Rajan was the target. Malabari had enough reasons to hate Rajan — his brother and brother-in-law were killed by Rajan’s men.
Fifteen days later, Sohel came to Yusuf’s house where Malabari was also present with three German-made pistols, one US-made Mauser, a magazine each for all firearms and 100 live cartridges. Yusuf stored the weapons in his house.
In July, Sohel took Malabari and Yusuf to get two pistols — manufactured in the US and Germany — and 500 live cartridges. Sohel told Malabari that he had got the weapons from his contacts in the Thailand Army.
The plot to kill Rajan was finalised in August 2000 when Shakeel called Malabari and instructed him to kill Rajan in September. He was promised a lot of money and relocation to another country.
Later that month, Fahim Machmach told Malabari that he would be helped by D-Company gangster Munna Jhingada, who landed in Bangkok on August 30.
The next day Yusuf moved both gangsters to a rented apartment in a nearby town. Shakeel asked Malabari and Jhingada to recce a five-star hotel in Sukhumvit, whose gym Rajan used.
The two camped at the hotel, but Rajan did not turn up. On September 8, Yusuf and Jhingada rented a flat in a building next to where Rajan was staying and shifted all the weapons there.
Yusuf informed others that Gurpreet Singh Bhullar would be part of the attack.
On September 13, Jhingada, Bhullar and Malabari were joined by seven men from Pakistan. The next day Munna and Mehmood stepped out of the building and spotted Rajan and his aide Rohit Verma get down from a taxi and walk into an apartment in the adjacent building.
After he was informed about Rajan’s location, Dawood Ibrahim directed Malabari to first kidnap Rajan. He wanted to speak to Rajan before the latter’s throat was slit by the shooters. On September 15, Shakeel gave the go-ahead. Six of the Pakistani nationals were asked to stand below the building to fire at Rajan if he tried to escape. Malabari, Munna, Bhullar and another Pakistani national entered the flat.
Verma opened the door and was shot at point blank range. One bullet hit his wife, while his daughter sat in one corner crying. The four D-Company shooters fired indiscriminately at the bedroom door which was locked. Malabari broke open the door and found no one. Rajan had escaped.
At around 9 pm, Shakeel informed Malabari that Rajan was admitted to a government hospital and that he was heavily guarded and asked Malabari not risk going there.
Malabari and the others then escaped to Cambodia and later to Pakistan.
Malabari was arrested by the Mangalore police in 2009 for allegedly trying to kidnap a businessman for a ransom of Rs5 crore, and then to use that money to kill Varun Gandhi and Pramod Muthalik. In August 2014, he jumped bail, and remains one of the major threats to Chhota Rajan as the underworld don prepares to return to India.