The Mumbai Police on Wednesday arrested fugitive gangster Ejaz Yusuf Lakdawala. The 50-year-old native of Mumbai, who was a member of both the Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan gangs in the past, was caught in Patna, Bihar, after his daughter gave the police his location, thus ending a dedicated six-month-long effort.
The Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch arrested Lakdawala in Patna after verifying information with the local police and brought him to Mumbai on Wednesday night, said Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve. “We brought him to Mumbai to verify his identity and booked him at 10.30 pm,” Barve said. He was produced in court on Thursday and remanded to police custody till January 21.
Lakdawala’s arrest comes weeks after his daughter, Sonia, was caught at the Mumbai International Airport while attempting to fly to Nepal using the passport made with forged documents.
Barve said that there were 25 cases of murder, attempt to murder and extortion registered against Lakdawala in Mumbai and two in other parts of Maharashtra. Barve hailed his arrest as a “major achievement”.
“He has made extortion calls to 80 people. Now that he has been arrested we will know how many unreported cases there are against him,” he said. Lakdawala, said the police, used international numbers to make phone calls to builders and would threaten to kill those that did not pay up.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Santosh Rastogi said that while efforts to trace Lakdawala were intensified six months ago, the breakthrough came with the arrest of his daughter Sonia (22) on December 28. The police had gradually pushed Lakdawala into a corner after first arresting his brother Aqeel in March 2019.
All three wanted persons were last booked by the police in February 2019 for making an extortion call to a builder in Khar West.
Crime branch officials said that prior to 1992, Lakdawala worked for fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim and his deputy Chhota Rajan. However, when the two parted ways that year, Lakdawala sided with Rajan and worked with him till 2008.
In 2002, Lakdawala survived an attempt on his life made by Ibrahim’s aide Chhota Shakeel. The police said that he was shot seven times by gunmen. Lakdawala left Rajan’s gang in 2008 owing to financial disagreements and has operated his own gang, said the police.
Since then, added a crime branch official, Lakdawala has lived in Canada, Cambodia, Malaysia, Nepal, UK and USA. He is also believed to own properties in London, Canada and Malaysia, said the police.
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