Gangster Ejaz Lakdawala has told Mumbai Police that close aides of Chhota Rajan had planned to kill fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in 1998, but the plan failed.
Lakdawala, 50, who was on the run for two decades and was once a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, made this revelation during interrogation by the Mumbai Crime Branch following his arrest last month in connection with cases of extortion and attempt to murder.
A source in the Crime Branch said some close aides of Chhota Rajan along with Indian agencies planned to eliminate Dawood Ibrahim in Karachi in 1998.
A team, comprising Vicky Malhotra, Farid Tanasha, Balu Dokre, Lakdawala, Vinod Matkar, Sanjay Ghate and Baba Reddy, went to Karachi in 1998 to kill him, but the operation failed.
Dawood Ibrahim was supposed to come to a ''dargah'' (shrine) after his daughter Maria's death in Karachi.
"Vicky Malhotra and others were waiting for him, but they had to abort the operation as Dawood Ibrahim came to the dargah with huge security after getting a tip-off about it by a Nepal parliamentarian," the source said.
When the team later reached the flat where they were staying, Chhota Rajan asked them to leave immediately, saying the operation was leaked to Dawood Ibrahim.
Lakdawala also told the police that the Pakistan Police probably raided their flat in next two days and seized all the weapons they had got to eliminate Dawood Ibrahim.
Later, Malhotra killed the Nepal parliamentarian, while Chhota Rajan was attacked in 2000 by Munna Jhingada alias Sayyed Muddassar Hussain, a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, who is presently in Pakistan.
Lakdawala was attacked in Bangkok's busy Bobae Market area in 2002.
He claimed that a ''tabeez'' (amulet) saved him from the six bullets fired by Chhota Shakeel's aides on his chest, hands and neck from point-blank range.