Following the collapse of the Husaini building, the neighbouring Dambarwala building has been evacuated. Among those who moved out is Iqbal Kaskar, younger brother of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Kaskar reportedly shifted to his late sister Haseena Parkar’s residence in Nagpada hours after the Husaini building collapsed, killing 33 and injuring 17.
Dambarwala building is home to around 12 families, with the Kaskars occupying the first and fourth floors. All the families who live in the building have now moved out. Dambarwala building shares a common courtyard with the collapsed building.
In fact, 33 Pakmodia Street — the location of Dambarwala building — is the last known address of Dawood, wanted in the 1993 Bombay blasts case, among others. Before fleeing India in 1986, Dawood is believed to have lived in the building along with his family.
While his brothers Anees and Iqbal also escaped with him, the don’s mother Aminabai stayed back. After her death, the first floor was given to a madrasa, where Muslim girls were given Quran lessons along with tailoring classes. On one corner of the property still stand pieces of furniture that were once placed in Dawood’s Rounaq Afroz hotel.
After Iqbal was deported to Mumbai and began to live in Dambarwala building, the madrasa was closed down. The adjacent alley is Temker Street, the official address from where Dawood once operated.
“In the 1980s, many Bollywood stars were regulars on the street,” said a local. The street was once also home to Chhota Shakeel, the trusted lieutenant of Dawood, who fled with the gangster in 1986.
A local resident said following the collapse, Kaskar immediately decided to vacate his house. “The other residents followed suit,” said the local.
Salman Kazi, a resident of Dambarwala building, said the BMC had in 2007 pasted a notice on it, declaring the structure dilapidated. He said the residents’ concerns regarding the impending redevelopment are over the alternative accommodation they will be provided in the interim.
“We cannot shift to the central suburbs. This will affect our livelihoods as our businesses are in south Mumbai, around Pakmodia Street. We have sought alternative accommodation in south Mumbai,” Kazi said. He added that on Saturday, the residents held a meeting to discuss the future course of action.
Popular perception had it that Dawood’s family and associates were the safest on Pakmodia Street and Temker Mohalla. But in May 2011, Kaskar’s driver-cum-bodyguard Arif Sayyad was shot at, allegedly by rival don Chhota Rajan’s men, in Pakmodia Street.