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Wednesday, August 20 1997

Bhai Thakur gang claims responsibility

Vivek Agarwal & J Dey

August 19: Barely two hours after builder Natwarlal Mohanlal Desai's murder, the Subash Thakur gang claimed credit for the killing. ``We killed Desai because he had usurped land belonging to poor tribals at Mira Road in Thane district without providing them any alternative accommodation,'' said Ali Budesh alias Baba speaking over the phone from Bahrain. Baba is a close associate of Subash Singh Thakur, who is currently lodged in a jail along with Bhai Thakur.

Speaking to Express Newsline Baba said Desai was bumped off because he failed to pay Rs 4 crore he owed to the gang.

``He did not heed several phone calls made to him by us,'' Baba said. Desai had promised to pay Rs 4 crore as `hafta' to Bhai Thakur, Subash Singh Thakur and Chhota Rajan after the trio split from the Dawood Ibrahim gang in 1992. ``The builder also made two trips to Karachi to make peace with Dawood Ibrahim,'' Baba added.

Commissioner of Police S C Malhotra when contacted said it would be too early to say who was behind the gruesome act.

Subash Thakur and Bhai Thakur, before their arrest, were active in the Vasai-Virar area and were known landing agent for silver consignments. They were involved in the Vadrai silver ingots case in which several tribals were done to death by the gangsters.

Shanti Star Builders, of which Desai was a director, came under a cloud in 1996 when it locked horns with Valecha Builder over a land dispute at Mira Road. Dilip Valecha was later murdered at his Malabar Hill residence by Chhota Shakeel's contract killers.

Meanwhile, sources in the underworld disclosed that ganglord Chhota Rajan had made several calls to Mumbai from his Malaysian hideout wanting to know as to who was responsible for killing Desai. Meanwhile, Joint Police Commissioner (crime) R S Sharma has said the police suspect Arun Gawli's involvement in the murder.

Copyright © 1997 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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