It is from bits and pieces of information gathered by sources ranging from police to his rivals (such as Chhota Rajan) that we have a gamut of knowledge on the underworld don. Getting insider information on India’s most wanted man, Dawood Ibrahim, is a task not everyone can achieve.
Journalist Baljeet Parmar is one of those men. His access to Dawood before the latter carried out the Bombay Bomb Blasts in 1993 allowed him to learn the don’s secrets.
It was Parmar who first wrote on the involvement of Sanjay Dutt in the blasts, leading to one of India’s longest running cases which eventually culminated in his conviction.
The veteran journalist has interviewed and written about nearly every major underworld don from the 70s to 90s, including Haji Mastan and Vardarajan Mudaliar.
For around five years, between 1988 and 1992, Parmar met Dawood 20 times – 18 times in Dubai and twice at the don’s residence in London.
Recalling his meetings with Dawood, Parmar said that in a conversation held at the don’s plush office in Dubai, the latter told him that he had once made a promise to his mother that he will never take drugs, drink alcohol or womanize.
According to Parmar, Dawood has always believed it is because of this promise – which he strictly adheres to – that his enemies have not succeeded in killing him.
Dawood told Parmar that he succeeded in bumping off most of his enemies during the time they were indulging in any of the three vices.
The last time he spoke to Dawood was a day after the Bombay Bomb Blasts.
According to Dainik Bhaskar, Parmar recollects that it was on the morning of March 13, 1993 when he got the call from the underworld don.
Right after the blasts, Dawood had rang him up asking, “Bhai sahib, how do you find our blasts?”
Parmar said that he angrily disconnected the call and spoke about it to then police commissioner Amarjeet Singh Samra. (He passed away in 2008.) The commissioner warned him not to discuss the same with anyone else, claims Parmar.
Parmar claims to have noted that Dawood behaved like a gentleman before women and children. Though a chain smoker, he never smoked in their presence.
The journalist saw this side of Dawood at a party in Midlands, UK, in 1990, which was also attended by Javed Miandad and his family. Miandad’s son would later go on to marry Dawood’s daughter.
During a 1991 visit to Dubai, Parmar says he was invited to Dawood’s office in Pearl Building. It was during this meeting that Dawood revealed to Parmar the promise he made to his mother.
In his 12th floor office in the 17 storey building, Parmar saw the neatly decked up cabins of Chhota Rajan and Chhota Shakeel. Rajan, then Dawood’s right-hand man, was one of the most prominent figures in D-Company.
In 1997, Chhota Rajan shot Parmar on Antop Hill, Mumbai. The journalist survived.
Parmar also observed that Dawood had a very sharp memory. He could recall each and every telephone number that was of importance to him.
He used to tell his men to dial someone’s number but never told them who it belonged to.
Twenty-two years later, Dawood remains as elusive as he was then.
The Indian government says it knows where exactly he is living in Pakistan, though the claim has been disputed.
Just a few years ago, Ajit Doval (current NSG) planned an operation to eliminate Dawood but it could not be executed because of the don’s reach inside the Mumbai police department.
While India continues to find ways to kill Dawood, the international terrorist continues to live in hiding somewhere in Pakistan.