D gang returns to haunt biz family?

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Mumbai:  The Dholakia family's deadly tryst with the underworld and Dawood Ibrahim continued yesterday when Manish Dholakia, son of late underworld don Arvind, was shot at in his office near Bombay Hospital last evening.

Two unidentified gunmen barged into the Sharda Chambers office of Manish, who is into the financing and real estate business, and opened fire around 4 pm yesterday.

While the businessman managed to duck and dodge the bullets, his private bodyguard was injured in the shootout.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy confirmed that the firing was linked to underworld operations.

"We are examining the possibility of the shootout being the result of financial disputes," he said.

Senior police officials said the role of Dawood, who commissioned the murders of Manish's father, Arvind, and uncle, Mahesh, is being investigated.

In the early '80s, Arvind and Mahesh Dholakia dared to venture into a territory where no other successful Gujarati businessman had gone before they started financing the Mumbai underworld.

Arvind, whose grandfather was a textile merchant near Chor Bazaar, had emerged as one of the city's most prominent builders, while Mahesh was allegedly active in the flesh trade through his various hotels and restaurants, including Caesar's Palace at Khar.

Most of the money used for the Dholakias' underworld financing came from smuggling contraband from Daman. It was not long before they crossed swords with Dawood and his second-in-command, Chhota Rajan.

Abdul Kunju, a local gangster in Chembur, had a bitter and long standing enmity with Bada Rajan.

It began when Bada Rajan sent his men to assault some youth in Shell Colony, Chembur, for harassing a woman typist. This incident led to Kunju hating Rajan's guts and the two men vowing to kill each other.

Kunju, however, was aware of the power Rajan wielded between Ghatkopar and Matunga and knew he could not take him on alone. He found an ally in Mahesh.

Kunju hired autorickshaw driver Chandrashekar Safalika from Shell Colony. The hireling was badly in need of Rs 1 lakh for his sister's wedding and did not flinch when he was asked to kill Bada Rajan, Chhota Rajan's mentor.

While Mahesh gave Safalika the supari, Kunju got him a revolver for the job. He was trained by gangsters Baba Gulekar, Mangesh More and Ramesh Pujari at an isolated hilly tract near Vikhroli Park Site.

Dressed as a naval cadet, Safalika stalked Bada Rajan outside the Esplanade Court before killing him.

Months later, Chhota Rajan and his associates met Mahesh at Caesar's Palace. They convinced him that their intentions were friendly and he took him into their private chamber, where they gunned him down.

Arvind, on the other hand, was killed in a hail of bullets fired from a Kalashnikov by members of the Arun Gawli gang at Oshiwara.

The killing was masterminded by Ibrahim because of Arvind's increasing influence in the real estate business.

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