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Ali Baba Budesh is a notorious Indian extortionist and underworld don of the Indian Mafia, based in Bahrain. He is believed to have fled to Bahrain in the late eighties.[1]

Contents

Biography

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Early life

Most of the details of Budesh's early life and background are vague. Born of an Indian mother and Arab father, he made his entrance into the Mumbai underworld as a petty pickpocket and a street ruffian. The police in Vikhroli, a north-eastern suburb of the city, had registered a case of assault against him.[1]

Contact with Dawood Ibrahim

While living in the slums near the Pankheshah Baba shrine at Vikhroli, Budesh came into contact with some of Dawood Ibrahim's gang members who were on the run from the police, and sought shelter in the labyrinthine slums of the Vikhroli Parksite area. Budesh was rewarded for his initial assistance of these men, when he was sent to Dubai and met Dawood Ibrahim, the infamous head of the D-Company and India's most wanted fugitive.[1]

Boss of his own gang

Budesh later split from the D-Company, together with other key aides of Dawood Ibrahim such as Pakistani smuggler Shoaib Khan, Irfan Goga, and Ijaz Pathan, and formed his own separate gang with its headquarters in Bahrain.[2] He allied himself with some of Dawood Ibrahim's enemies and went on to lead them against him. These included Vasai, a feared gangster from Virar, Subhash Singh Thakur, who is currently lodged in New Delhi's Tihar Central Prison. Another former Ibrahim aide, Dilawar Khan, became Budesh's right hand man. This alliance caused some major upsets to Ibrahim's declining empire.[1]

Informant

He also began informing on members of the D-Company to law enforcement. The detention of Dawood Ibrahim's brother, Anees Ibrahim at the Bahrain International Airport at Muharraq in 1996 is believed to have been due to a tip-off from Budesh. Dawood spent over Rs 5 lakh for his brother's release. Similarly, the month-long incarceration of Abu Salem, another key underworld figure at the UAE's Al-Rafa detention centre was attributed to Budesh. Budesh also began informing on other Indian NRI gangsters such as Chhota Shakeel, Noora Ibrahim, etc, forcing them to flee the UAE for Pakistan, where they are believed to have made their base of operations in Karachi.[1]

Involvement in the extortion rackets

In spite of the falling out with his former mentor, Budesh's policy in his extortion rackets closely follow Dawood Ibrahim's modus operandi. His targets include builders, diamond merchants and figures within the Bollywood film industry. His demands from builders include an annual fee or a few flats in their projects. From diamond merchants, he seeks deposits in numbered accounts in Swiss banks. However, the biggest contributors to his extortion racket have always been the Bollywood film figures.[1]

Those who usually refuse to pay the extortion money or hafta as it is called in the Mumbai underworld jargon, are dealt with in a severe manner. For instance, when Natwarlal Desai, a local Mumbai based builder refused to pay the hafta being demanded by Budesh's gang, he was later shot dead on August 18, 1997 at Nariman Point by the Budesh gang members. Those businessmen who were reluctant to pay the hafta to Budesh's enforcers, paid up with alacrity after the Desai killing. After this incident, no other killing by the Budesh gang was reported for a long time.[1]

On April, 1998, Keith Rodrigues, the 23 year old chief steward at the Copper Chimney restaurant at Saki Naka, was shot dead by Ali Budesh's gunmen. The murder was done as a warning to the restaurant's owner, Satish Bansal, who had been dodging Budesh's demand for Rs 5 lakh for months.[1]

Extorting Bollywood

Some leading Bollywood film producers also became victims of Budesh's extortion tactics. He made threatening calls to Rakesh Roshan, Mukesh Bhatt and Boney Kapoor, and demanded up to Douw khokha (Rs 2 crore) from each of them.[1] The Tips Cassette Company owner, Ramesh Taurani, was also being extorted for the same amount.[3]

On January 21, 2000, Rakesh Roshan was shot at by two Budesh gang members near his office on Tilak Road at Santacruz West.[4] The assailants fired two bullets at him, one of which hit him on the left arm while the other grazed his chest. As the director fell to the ground, the assailants fled the scene.[5] The assailants were later identified as Sunil Vithal Gaikwad and Sachin Kamble. The attack on Roshan was not undertaken with the intent to kill, but to signal that the Shiv Sena could no longer protect its clients. Roshan had stonewalled demands from Budesh for a percentage of the profits from the overseas sale of the Hindi blockbuster, Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai.[6]

Clashes with the law

Budesh claimed responsibility for the hand-grenade attack near a hotel in Dahisar, a western suburb of Bombay on June, 1998. In the incident, some gangsters, when challenged, hurled the grenade at the police. In the blast and the subsequent police firing, two policemen and three gangsters were killed and several others were injured. However, Budesh's claim was dismissed by the Mumbai police.[7] The following year, Tirupati Kotian and Austin Carvalho, two members of the Ali Budesh gang were shot dead in an encounter with the Mumbai police at Kandivli.[8]

References


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