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Authors: S. Hussain Zaidi

Dongri to Dubai

BOOK: Dongri to Dubai
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Ajit Bhattacharjea

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah: Tragic Hero of Kashmir

Anil Dharker

Icons: Men & Women Who Shaped Today’s India

Aitzaz Ahsan

The Indus Saga: The Making of Pakistan

Alam Srinivas & TR Vivek

IPL: The Inside Story

Amarinder Singh

The Last Sunset: The Rise & Fall of the Lahore Durbar

Amir Mir

The True Face of Jehadis:

Inside Pakistan’s Terror Networks

Ashok Mitra

The Starkness of It

H.L.O. Garrett

The Trial of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Kiran Maitra

Marxism in India: From Decline to Debacle

Kuldip Nayar

Beyond the Lines: An Autobiography

L.S. Rathore

The Regal Patriot: The Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner

M.B. Naqvi

Pakistan at Knife’s Edge

M.J. Akbar


M.J. Akbar

Blood Brothers: A Family Saga

Maj. Gen. Ian Cardozo

Param Vir: Our Heroes in Battle

Maj. Gen. Ian Cardozo

The Sinking of INS Khukri: What Happened in 1971

Madhu Trehan

Tehelka as Metaphor

Masood Hyder

October Coup: A Memoir of the Struggle for Hyderabad

Nayantara Sahgal (ed.)

Before Freedom: Nehru’s Letters to His Sister

Nilima Lambah

A Life Across Three Continents

Peter Church

Added Value: The Life Stories of Indian Business Leaders

Sharmishta Gooptu and Boria Majumdar (eds)   

Revisiting 1857: Myth, Memory, History

Shashi Joshi

The Last Durbar

Shashi Tharoor & Shaharyar M. Khan

Shadows Across the Playing Field

Shrabani Basu

Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan

Shyam Bhatia


Goodbye Shahzadi: A Political Biography

Vir Sanghvi

Men of Steel: Indian Business Leaders in Candid Conversations


Imtiaz Gul

Osama: Pakistan Before and After

Lotus Collection

© S. Hussain Zaidi, 2012

All rights reserved. No part of the publication
may be reproduced or transmitted, in any
form or by any means, without the prior permission
of the publisher.

First published in April 2012
Fifth impression, July 2012
The views and opinions expressed in this book are the author’s own and
the facts are as reported by him which have been verified to the extent
possible, and the publishers are not in any way liable for the same.

The Lotus Collection
An imprint of
Roli Books Pvt. Ltd
M-75, Greater Kailash II Market
New Delhi 110 048
Phone: ++91 (011) 4068 2000
Fax: ++91 (011) 2921 7185
E-mail: [email protected]; Website:

Also at Bangalore, Chennai, & Mumbai

Layout: Sanjeev Mathpal
Production: Shaji Sahadevan

ISBN: 978-81-7436-894-2

Dedicated to my friends

Dr Shabeeb Rizvi
Chandramohan Puppala
Mir Rizwan Ali




Introduction: Up, Close, and Personal

Part 1

1.  The Big D

2.  In the Beginning: Bombay 1950–1960

3.  Bombay’s Midas

4.  Madrasi Mobster

5.  Tamil Alliance

6.  Pathan Power

7.  The Original Don: Baashu

8.  The Star called David

9.  The
of Dons

10.  Of Young Turks

11.  David versus Goliath

12.  The First Blood

13.  A Seed is Sown

14.  Beginning of the Bloodshed

15.  The Executioner

16.  The Emergency

17.  Mill Worker-Turned-Don

18.  Pathan Menace

19.  Mastan’s Masterstroke: The Truce

20.  Dawood’s Smuggling Business

21.  A Don in Love

22.  Ageing Dons

23.  Death of a Brother; Birth of a Gang War

24.  Dawood’s Coronation

25.  Mumbai’s Hadley Chase

26.  The Fallout

27.  Mafia’s Bollywood Debut

28.  Pathan in Patharwali Building

29.  Typewriter Thief: Rajan Nair

30.  Pardesi Kills Pathan

31.  Circle of Revenge

32.  Rise of Chhota Rajan

33.  Enfant Terrible: Samad Khan

34.  Dawood’s Better Half

35.  Escape to Dubai

Part 2

1.  Making of an Empire

2.  Wiping Out Rivals

3.  Mafia’s Most Daring Operation

4.  End of Dawood-Gawli Alliance

5.  Shootout at Lokhandwala

6.  JJ Shootout

7.  Communal Strokes

8.  Surrender Offer

9.  Maal, Moll, or Mole?

10.  Developments in Dubai

11.  New D Company-HQ: Karachi, New CEO: Shakeel

12.  Rise of the Minions

13.  Shocking Bollywood

14.  Peanuts That Proved Costly

15.  Clandestine Coups

16.  Tech That

17.  Close Shave

18.  The Art of Survival

19.  Post 9/11

20.  Not so
Chori Chori Chupke Chupke

21.  ‘Judge’ Dawood

22.  Carnival of Spies

23.  Detained in Lisbon

24.  The White Kaskar

25.  Global Terrorist

26.  Salem Extradition

27.  Boucher’s Botched Attempt

28.  The Big D Makes the






first met S. Hussain Zaidi in the winter of 1997, when I had just begun writing a novel about the Mumbai underworld. I desperately needed help, and was lucky enough to have a sister who knew Hussain through their shared profession of journalism. So I met up with him at the cheerfully-named Bahar restaurant in the Fort area of Mumbai. I asked questions, and Hussain told me stories about greed and corruption, about shooters and their targets, and despite the chill that passed over my skin, I was aware of a rising swell of optimism—this guy was really, really good.

I didn’t know that day that S. Hussain Zaidi would become a friend, an extraordinary inside informant about matters relating to crime and punishment, and my guide into the underworld. But that is exactly what happened. Over the next few years, as I wrote my novel, Hussain generously shared with me his vast knowledge, his canny experience, and his host of contacts. I can say with certainty that I would not have been able to write my book without his ever-ready help and advice.

It makes me very happy that Hussain has finished his magnum opus,
Dongri to Dubai
, so that the general reader can now benefit from his expertise. This book does much more than narrate the saga of one man’s rise, it brings alive the entire culture of crime that has grown and formed itself over the last half century in India. And as much as we like to distance ourselves by pretending that the underworld exists quite literally under us, beneath us, the truth—as Hussain shows—is that we mingle with it every day. The influence of organised crime reaches into the economy, our polity, and everyday life.

Yet, our knowledge of the intentions and operations of the players on all sides of the law is mostly a mixture of legend and conjecture. Our histories begin with a few names—Haji Mastan, Varadarajan, Karim Lala — imbued with dread, and continue with still others —Dawood, Chhota Rajan, Abu Salem—haloed with matinee glamour. What we have lacked is a narrative that provides both detail and perspective, that lays out the entire bloody saga of power-mongering, money, and murder.
Dongri to Dubai
is that necessary book, and more. It gives us an account that is vast in its scope and yet intimate in its understanding of motive and desire. Hussain moves us from the small gangs of early post-Independence India to the corporatising consolidations of the eighties and through the sanguine street wars of the nineties; we better comprehend our present, with its abiding undercurrent of terror, if we follow the tangled, stranger-than-fiction history that puts an Indian gangster in a safe-house in Karachi, with a daughter married to the son of a national celebrity, and his coffers enriched by the bootleg sales of Mumbai movies to Pakistanis.

BOOK: Dongri to Dubai
8.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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