When I met Dawood Ibrahim: Journalist recounts the meeting

New Delhi, Apr 27: On February 11 1981 the world changed for Dawood Ibrahim. His brother Shabir Ibrahim had been gunned down near the Siddhivinayak Temple in Prabhadevi Mumbai.

The killing was masterminded by Dawood Ibrahim's once friend turned foe, Amirzada and Alamzeb who retaliated after their gang members were gunned down by the D gang.

Dawood Ibrahim

Dawood was not the kind who would take this lightly and the city of Mumbai was gearing up for a major gang war. Come back to the office with the story.

Come on Monday to the office, but with the story, the editor for the weekly Current, Ayub Syed told me. Joy C Raphael, senior journalist who has worked both in India and abroad had the chance to meet with Dawood Ibrahim. He shares his experience with OneIndia.

A normal guy

"I found Dawood Ibrahim to be a normal guy. He did not come across as too flashy when I met him. He explained the situation to me patiently. He spoke quite a lot, but never smiled. He seemed serious at that time because he had lost his brother just two days back.

When I met him at that time he was a gangster. Not once did I even once think that Dawood would turn out this way. There was not even an inkling to suggest that he would become a terrorist and be branded as India's number one enemy at that time.

Dawood Ibrahim

During that conversation that I had with him, he did not issue any threats to his rival gang. He just told him how all of them were together at one time. He even shared a photograph with me of him standing with Alamzeb and Amirzada. He told me that it was jealousy which had led to the split."

Getting ready for the meeting

"After Dawood's brother was gunned down there was a chance of a major gang war breaking out. I was called by the editor of Current who gave me Rs 200 and told me to get the story. Come back to office on Monday, but with the story he said."

Joy says that during a conversation he had with online Manorama English he had said that he was quite flummoxed since he had never done a crime story before. This was a major one he says.

To have Rs 200 in the pocket was quite something considering that the vada pav cost just 30 paise in Mumbai at that time. I headed to my friend V Menon's house and we went out for dinner to discuss ways of getting the story. It was decided that the only way to do it was to go to Dawood's house on Pakmodia street."

The meeting

"On Monday morning, I ventured into Pakmodia street which is in the Dongri area of Mumbai. With fear in my heart, I knocked on the door.

A person opened the door and asked me who I was. I told him, I am from the press and wanted to meet Dawood in connection with the murder of Shabir.
I was told to wait.

Half an hour later a man of medium height dressed in a cream coloured shirt emerged from the room. He looked at me and while rubbing his moustache he told me, I am Dawood. He then took me a close by restaurant and ordered tea.

We spoke with each other for an hour over several cups of tea. He was talkative and explained in detail about the rivalry with Amirzada and Alamzeb. We were friends once upon a time and they had even attended my wedding he says. I was happy that I got the story.

Before leaving he shook my hand and told me that he wanted to see the story before it was printed. I said I will ask my boss.I returned the next day with the story. One of his friends went through it and told Dawood that it was alright.

I then asked him for a photograph. He went home and returned with a photograph of him with Amirzada, Alamzeb and a contract killer Samad Khan."

Has the story been approved?

" As I was leaving, Dawood asked me if the story had been approved. I told him it has not yet been approved. Dawood told me that he would send two of men to the Current office at Nariman Bhawan and they would wait there until the story was approved.

I was really getting worried now. Dawood then called for a taxi and sent two of his men with me to my office. Syed was not at office and so I headed towards Mohan Rao the deputy editor.

I told him to okay the story and also explained that Dawood's men were waiting below and wanted to know if any changes would be made. He read through the story saw the photographs and approved it.

This was quite an experience for me. The story clicked and I received a lot of praise. There were two scoops- one the meeting with Dawood and the other the photograph he gave me which was used by several media outlets later.

OneIndia News




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