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Suresh "Pappu" Kalani
Born December 0, 1951 (1951-00-00) (age 59)
Occupation Politician and illegal gang leader
Spouse(s) Jyoti Kalani
Children 2

Pappu Kalani (born 1951) is an Indian criminal-politician from Ulhasnagar (a suburb of Mumbai, India). After emerging as the leader of an organized crime syndicate in the 1980s[1], he won elections for the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 1986 with the Indian National Congress party, and has been elected continuously from this seat since then, including two elections in the period 1992-2001 when he was in jail on murder charges. His formal name is Suresh Budharmal Kalani and Pappu may be a nickname, though he prefers it as part of the formal name, writing Suresh (Pappu) Budharmal Kalani in his election papers [2]. Pappu Kalani is how he is inevitably referred to, however. His meteoric rise to power in Indian politics highlights the extent to which Indian democracy has degenerated.

He is currently on bail in 19 cases including eight of murder[3] and was most recently elected the MLA for Ulhasnagar from the Republican Party of India (Athavale) in the Maharashtra state assembly elections, 2004.


Life and career

Born into a wealthy family, Pappu Kalani's uncle Dunichand Kalani was the president of the local unit of Indian National Congress. The family ran a liquor business and owned a number of distilleries and hotels[4]. In the 1970s, Ulhasnagar was a booming lawless town settled by entrepreneurial refugees who had emigrated from Sind, Pakistan after the Partition of India in 1947. Sharp business practices (Ulhasnagar was known for its "duplicate"s or forged goods) combined with illegal construction and unauthorised industrial units made for an atmosphere where "protection" emerged as a profitable business[1].

A number of gangs were soon working under the patronage of political parties. Pappu Kalani's uncle Keemat Kalani, also affiliated with the Congress party, ran the gang headed by Chiman Tejwani[1], while the opposing parties, under politician Gop Behrani, employed the gang of Govind Vachani and Gopal Rajwani. It is reported that both gangs were connected to the Dawood Ibrahim gang. Use was also made of the media, and hush money were regularly paid to journalists[5].

In 1983, Gopal Rajwani was for a while aligned with Pappu Kalani, and they executed the brutal knife murder of the editor A V Narayan of Blitz magazine[5][6]. Rajwani was arrested for this, but he was eventually acquitted due to lack of witnesses and shoddy prosecution. Nothing came out of this dastardly murder however as the Indian press never stood up against this criminal.

In 1986, Pappu Kalani was elected president of the Ulhasnagar Municipal Council (UMC), and the same year, he was chosen by the Indian National Congress party as its candidate for the state legislature from Ulhasnagar, and easily won the seat[1].

Meanwhile Gopal Rajwani and Pappu had fallen out over the division of extortion money. In April 1985, Rajwani was arrested in an extortion case, apparently at Kalani's bidding. As Rajwani was being escorted to the police station in a rickshaw, Kalani arranged for his men to attack him with bombs and guns[6]. Rajwani survived the attack and eventually relocated to Dubai, with the help of Haji Mastan, a notorious smuggler and senior don of that time.

In April 1989, Pappu's uncle Dudhichand Kalani was murdered, allegedly by the Govind Vachani / Gopal Rajwani gang[7], at the instance of Gop Behrani[5]. This led to reprisal killings - as many as 22 murders in five months. It was said during this period that "there would be a killing in Ulhasnagar every Tuesday."[1] It was during this period that Pappu Kalani emerged as the leader of his own organized crime gang.


Bhateja, Shetty, and Jadhav murders

In February and April 1990, nephews of Gop Behrani, Ghanashyam and Inder Bhateja were shot dead, despite having been given state police protection[8]. Also shot dead in 1990 were gangster Anna Shetty, and rickshaw union leader and bodyguard of Rajwani, Maruti Jadhav[4], both of whom were affiliated with the Gopal Rajwani gang. Jadhav in his dying declaration, as well as another person who was injured in the revolver attack, identified Pappu Kalani personally, and he would later be refused bail in this murder case[9].

In 1990, when Pappu Kalani was formally named in some of these murders[10], he was expelled from the Congress party.

In 1992, when the clean-imaged Sudhakarrao Naik took over as Chief Minister from Sharad Pawar, he launched a drive against criminal-politicians. Media pressure increased tremendously after the September 1992 shootout where Dawood Ibrahim's gang killed Shailesh Haldankar of the Arun Gawli gang as well as several on-duty policemen at Mumbai's JJ Hospital[4]. Thereafter, Pappu Kalani, along with Bhai Thakur, brother of politician-ganglord Hitendra Thakur, were arrested in November 1992, along with some others gangsters. Pappu was charged with the gang murders from 1990 and with the JJ Hospital shootout-ably executed by D-Company's Shyam Kishore Garikapatti alias "Black Scorpion"; a total of 19 cases were filed against him[4]. He was jailed under the repressive Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, which permitted imprisonment for "terrorists" even without trial. Several appeals against his incarceration failed - the court found him sufficiently implicated in the Maruti Jadhav murder to label him as a level "A" terrorist, and bail was repeatedly denied[9][7]. However, TADA laws were found inappropriate in some other charges - particularly for both the Bhateja murders[8], and also in the JJ Hospital shootout case, which were transferred to a sessions court[11]. However, none of these cases progressed to trial. Altogether, he spent nine years in jail under TADA before being eventually released on bail in 2002.

At one point, Sudhakarrao made a statement that the state leader of Indian National Congress party and erstwhile Chief Minister Sharad Pawar, had asked him to "go easy on Pappu Kalani"[10]. At another time, Chief Minister Manohar Joshi of Shiv Sena announced his intention to prosecute criminal-politicians [12], but political realities ensured that nothing much was done.

Under Indian law, someone who has not been sentenced to more than two years for a crime cannot be considered guilty of a major crime and is free to fight elections. Thus, despite being in jail, Kalani kept fighting and winning the assembly seat from Ulhasnagar, partly because of the family's muscle, but also because in his first term, Kalani had worked to improve the roads and the water supply[3].

In 1999, when his mentor Sharad Pawar formed the National Congress Party, Pappu also joined it. However, mounting public pressure proved disruptive for the nascent party and he was forced to resign. At this time, he handed over the Municipal corporation to his wife Jyoti Kalani, who would also soon be arrested on charges of forgery, non-payment of revenue and illegal liquor manufacturing.[1]

Rajwani murder

Meanwhile, in January 2000, arch rival Gopal Rajwani was shot dead in a hail of bullets as he was coming out of a car at the magistrate's court to attend a case[6]. It was widely believed that Pappu Kalani, at the time still in jail, may have masterminded it[6].

Immediately after his release from jail in 2001, several cases arose where he allegedly tried to intimidate one Bhoir family, part of whose land had been illegally encroached upon to build the Seema Holiday Home (since demolished) owned by the Kalanis, and also the shopowner Ramesh Rohra[13].

In 2004, Pappu Kalani again won the assembly elections, as a candidate of the Republican Party of India (Athavale)[3]. His wife however, continues to be with the National Congress Party.

In 2005, the Bombay High Court ordered the demolition of 855 illegal structures in Ulhasnagar, Pappu Kalani, a large part of whose extortion money depended on permitting illegal constructions, passed a law permitting most of them to be legalized[14]. However, many structures did not even pay the legalization fees, and large scale demolitions were launched in Ulhasnagar for most of 2006.

In the municipal elections of 2007, despite very little electioneering by opposing groups, Pappu Kalani's group mustered only 15 seats (out of 76), and it is thought that the influence of musclepower may have waned considerably in Ulhasnagar[15].


Pappu Kalani's wife Jyoti Kalani emerged on her own during the years when he was out of power or in prison, becoming the president (mayor) of the powerful Ulhasnagar Municipal Council. In recent years, she too faced several charges of intimidation and forgery[16], and lost the 2007 municipal elections[15]. His son Omi Kalani has been named in several extortion and assault cases in 2005 [17], and he also has a daughter Seema.

In 2004, his brother Narayan Kalani was arrested for three murders dating back to the internecine gang warfare of 1990[18].


  1. ^ a b c d e f Girish Kuber (2007-01-09). "Pappu's Ulhasnagar gambit may backfire". The Economic Times.,curpg-2.cms. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  Quote: Suresh "Pappu" Kalani: a man who is seen as the personification of this lawlessness in (Ulhasnagar)
  2. ^ Suresh (Pappu) Budharmal Kalani's electoral declaration in 2004
  3. ^ a b c Dionne Bunsha (2004-12-17). "The States: Dons in a new role". The Hindu. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  
  4. ^ a b c d Tanushree Chakraborty (September 6, 2001). "Pappu Kalani is free: bluster intact, not his base". Indian Express. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  Pappu Kalani is quoted as saying: ‘‘There is no politician in India who has contested two elections from jail and has won both. I am among the very few persons in the country with eight TADA cases registered against me’’
  5. ^ a b c Yogesh Pawar (1999-03-03). "Three Ps rule Ulhas: Pelf, Politicians & Pappu". Indian Express. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  
  6. ^ a b c d Jake Khan, Ulhasnagar (2000-01-25). "Sena leader Gopal Rajwani shot dead". Ulhasnagar: India Abroad. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  
  7. ^ a b Justices K.T. Thomas & D.P. Mohapatra (2 March 2001). "Suresh alias Pappu Bhudharmal Kalani v. State of Maharashtra". Supreme Court of India. Retrieved 2007-05-29.  The prosecution case presented at the start of this judgement details clearly the story of the long-standing rivalry between the Gopal Rajwani and Pappu Kalani gangs. Then it discusses in detail the special TADA court judgement refusing to transfer the case to an ordinary sessions court (as opposed to a terrorist court) arguing that the use of an illegal firearm, and also the fact that prima facie, Pappu Kalani was identified by two witnesses (including a dying declaration) using the firearm to execute a murder (based on spent cartridges), is sufficient at least to proceed for trial under TADA.
  8. ^ a b "Tada charges against Kalani dropped in Bhateja murders". Indian Express. 1999-10-28. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  
  9. ^ a b Indian Express (September 10, 1998). "Pappu Kalani refused bail in murder case". Retrieved 2007-05-25.  
  10. ^ a b Gouri Shah (October 11, 2004). "The F-factor: Kalani certain of clean sweep". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  
  11. ^ "Two discharged". The Tribune, Chandigarh. 1998-09-17. Retrieved 2007-05-25.  
  12. ^ Prafulla Marpakwar (1997-06-09). "Joshi seeks Cabinet nod for probe". Indian Express. Retrieved 2007-05-25.  
  13. ^ Shibu Thomas (2003-11-28). "Pappu Kalani's bail may be revoked". Retrieved 2007-05-30.  
  14. ^ "Pappu Kalani : Hero of Ulhasnagar". 2005-12-28. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  
  15. ^ a b "Beginning of the end for Kalanis?". Indian Express. 2007-02-09. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  
  16. ^ "Kalani's wife held for forgery". Cybernoon. May 28, 2004. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  
  17. ^ "Case lodged against Pappu Kalani’s son". Indian Express. 2005-12-26. Retrieved 2007-05-24.  
  18. ^ "Pappu Kalani’s brother arrested". Times of India. 30 April, 2004. Retrieved 2007-05-09.  


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