After Indira Gandhi and Bal Thackeray, now a photograph of former PM Rajiv Gandhi with the underworld don Karim Lala has emerged, raising serious conjectures over the underworld connection with prominent politicians. In a recently emerged picture, the son of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv could be seen shaking his hand with the underworld don. In the photograph, a garlanded Rajiv Gandhi could be seen smiling at the underworld don.
Elaborating on the history of influence of the underworld over Mumbai, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut on Thursday morning sparked a row by claiming that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used to meet with Karim Lala, an underworld don. The statement, however, was then retracted after facing backlash from Maharashta ally, Congress. Despite the withdrawal of his statement, on Thursday a photograph of the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the underworld don Karim Lala emerged on social media. As per reports, the picture dated back to 1973, years before the imposition of Emergency.
Born as Abdul Karim Sher Khan in Afghanistan's Kunar province, Karim Lala was involved in extortion rackers, operating liquor dens, illegal land evictions, kidnapping, protection racket, contract killing, counterfeit currency, narcotics and gambling in 1960s to early 1980s. Known as the first don of Mumbai, Karim Lala moved to India in 1930s. Leader of the 'Pathan Gang' which included Afghani migrants, Karim Lala had a significant influence over Mumbai, then Bombay.
The underworld don began his journey in the city as an ordinary worker, however, later joined the ethnic gang of Pathans, eventually to operate as its leader. The infamous gang operated in the crime-infested part of the city like--Mohammad Ali Road, Bhendi Bazaar, Dongri. The gang was known to operate plenty of "carrom clubs" which was a pretence to gambling, betting rackets and moneylending. Karim Lala rose up to be known as one of the three "mafia dons of Mumbai", the others being Haji Mastan and Varadarajan. In the late 1970s, the three agreed on a pact to divide the city amongst themselves to avoid conflict between each other.