Days before the Jaipur Literature festival,Salman Rushdie has claimed in an interview,he received an e-mail from the organisers with deatils about a threat to his life from two hit men purportedly hired by a Mumbai don. He checked up the three names given to him,he said in the interview to NDTV 24×7,and found that one of them belonged to a SIMI activist,with a violent history but with no known contacts to the Mumbai underworld,and that the other two were nonexistent.
The email had been marked to senior Rajasthan government officials,he said. The mail specifically told me that they had received intelligence from Maharashtra that a Bombay Mafia don had handed weapons and money to two hit men who were on their way to Jaipur to,as the email said,eliminate me, he said.
At the first instance I was not told the names of these people. So I wrote back and I said,Look,if somebody is trying to kill me and you know who the name is then I deserve to know those names. So then they sent me three names. I have my own contacts in Bombay,through journalist friends,of people who know and investigate and write about D-Company and the Bombay underworld in general. I sent these names to them and said,Could you please tell me if these names make any sense to you and who they might be? One of the names,this guy Sakib Nachan I think,who was identified as a member of that banned group SIMI,and obviously is a person with a violent history,but no known contacts to the Bombay underworld, he said.
The other two underworld names were frankly ones that everybody who responded to these emails said theyd never heard them. And afterwards I read in the Indian press Bombay Police officials saying that the names were funny and had made them laugh. These were non-existent names. So,I had been told that a mafia don,who turned out not to be a mafia don,had given money and weapons to people who turned out not even to exist. This was the line I was fed. Subsequently,the Bombay intelligence denied it,the intelligence people in Delhi denied it,even bits of the Rajasthan police denied that they knew anything about it. But yet I was sent this,at the request of and with the approval of… senior Rajasthan government officials. Now thats a very,very poor state of affairs.