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Arun Gawli

Born unknown
Spouse(s) Asha Gawli

Arun Gawli, known to his followers as "Daddy", is a notorious criminal turned politician from Mumbai, India. He is based at Dagdi Chawl in Byculla- Saat Rasta, Mumbai. In 2004, he was elected as a MLA from the Mumbai Chinchpokli Constituency as an Akhil Bharatiya Sena candidate.

Gawli's rise in prominence is believed to be due to his "native roots" as a localite, which makes him distinct from most other non-Marathi-speaking dons. Gawli also differs in that he is Hindu (his wife, Ashatai, alias Mummy, is Muslim) while most dons are Muslim. Gawli was at one point actively supported by Balasaheb Thackeray, but his links to Thackeray and the Shiv Sena later broke down when Gawli's boys mercilessly slew several Sena legislators and party workers. Terrified, the hithero fearless Sena members found themselves at the receiving end of their own terror tactics. In the Bombay underworld, Gawli actively carried out kidnappings and extortions and was believed to have been supported by some powerful bureaucrats and politicians since the vacuum created by Dawood Ibrahim's flight from Mumbai. As he began to slowly lose relevance, Gawli stepped into mainstream politics, burning bridges with his former mentors.

Criminals, or "goondas," who rose to prominence — such as Arun Gawli, Ramabhai Naik, Babubhai Reshim, Guru Satam alias Mama, Ashok Chowdhury alias Chota Babu, Anilbhai Parab, and Tanya Koli — arose mostly from the fallout of the infamous Cotton Textile Mills strike of Mumbai in the 1970s in which millions of mill workers were rendered jobless. These unemployed, hungry, poverty-stricken workers and their children subsequently took to a life of petty crime. The Dagdi Chawl syndicate was originally aligned with the D-Company, but subsequently split up after differences of opinion regarding the division of spoils. Once a small-time charge-sheeter in the Byculla-Mahalaxmi-Agripada-Parel/Naigaum-Chinchpokli area, the diminutive Gawli is now the undisputed Don of Dagdi Chawl and his word is law in some parts of Mumbai. [1]

Gawli is a protege of the late Ramabhai Naik, who in 1986 gunned down supari-king Karim Lala's nephew, the dreaded Samad Khan, and paved the way for Dawood Ibrahim to become the undisputed don of the Mumbai underworld. Rama Naik was killed in an 'encounter' with Nagpada police PSI Rajan Katdhare in 1988, allegedly at the behest of Dawood Ibrahim, but he is still worshipped by Gawli and his henchmen as the original godfather of Dagdi Chawl.

Gawli has international dealings with countries like Australia and USA. He functions in United States through an infamous individual by the name of Vikram. Vikram's deeds are well known in Mumbai and other cities in India but no one can put down solid statements about his appearance or whereabouts. Rumors give this dreaded figure a face of a teenager. Said to be in his late teens, Vikram is said to be Gawli's own grandson.

Early career

The mill worker’s son tried his hand at a mill job, but lacked the patience. He then turned his Dagdi Chawl home into a mini-fortress and began a brief flirtation with Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan. Once Papa Gawli was killed by his erstwhile partners, he launched the Gawli gang, which cut its teeth on property disputes and workers’ unions in the dying mills. Even while he completed his jail term in the 1990s—he was convicted under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act in 1993 and sentenced to four years—he kept Central Mumbai in an iron grip. After the blasts, Gawli was suddenly the Hindu don the Shiv Sena could adopt. As the senior Thackeray once said: “If they have Dawood, we have Gawli”. Gawli was released in 1997 and broke away from the Sena to form the Akhil Bharatiya Sena. Between 1997 and 2004, Gawli has been arrested in over 15 cases—but convicted in none. He’s given up crime, ostensibly, but remains Mumbai’s solitary resident don.[2]

Politics and Jail

"Daddy" has been in and out of jail several times and spent more than ten years in judicial custody, but has never actually been convicted. Allegedly, With the help of a mobile phone and willing prison and police officials, Gawli ran his criminal empire of kidnappings, extortion and murder from behind bars at Nashik, Pune and Yerawada very efficiently and ruthlessly. It was here that the Akhil Bharatiya Sena, his political outfit composed of criminals and disgruntled politicos from other parties, was born. Prison was also a safe haven for Gawli, helping him avoid assassination attempts by the rival Dawood Ibrahim/Chhota Shakeel and Chhota Rajan Gangs. His decision to enter politics and become a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly also ensured that he would not get "taken out" by a police hit squad in an "encounter".

Gawli is married to "Mummy" Asha Gawli and has two children. Asha (formerly Ayesha) is in charge of criminal operations when Gawli is in prison. Gawli's political designs suffered a major blow when his nephew and party legislator, Sachinbhau Ahir, came out openly against him and joined Sharad Pawar's NCP. He even contested against Gawli in the subsequent Lok Sabha elections on an NCP ticket, resulting in defeat for them both, but victory for the Sena's sitting MP Mohan Rawle. His daughter was recently elected as a corporator to the Bombay Municipal Corporation.

Acquitted of all charges due to lack of witnesses, Gawli today is a free man. With his political status for cover and protection, his extortion scourge continues to terrorize the businessmen of the city, the courts and police being mere helpless accomplices to his rule.


  1. ^ Najm, Quaied (2003-03-16). "Reporters' Diary: In the don's lair". The Week (Malayala Manorama Group). Retrieved 2006-10-19.  
  2. ^

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