Underworld in Bollywood
From Anil Nair in Mumbai
Bollywood'sescapades with the underworld are far more encompassing than we would think. The latest to be caught in the cesspool is Preeti Jain, an almost-there starlet, who mixes oomph with wiliness.
Though many had reacted with disbelief when the police first revealed Jain'sdealings with the underworld-don-turned-politician Arun Gawli, the subsequent events have not helped her to bolster her case. On Wednesday the Mumbai police told the press that Preeti had paid Rs 2.5 lakh to Naresh Pardesi, a former associate of Arun Gawli to bump off Madhur Bhandarkar, a film-maker who is known for his slick but real depiction of the underbelly of Mumbai in the movie Chandni Bar.
Only a few months ago Jain had accused Bhandarkar of exploiting her in return for prospective roles in his films. Bhandarkar promptly denied all allegations though the drama with which she managed to hold her own made many sympathise with her. According to the police, Pardesi had subcontracted the job to another member of his gang and the police had identified him. ??We have a water-tight case??, claimed joint commissioner of police (Law and Order) Arup Patnaik.
Twist in Preeti-Madhur duet
Only last week Jain was taken to Bangalore'sVictoria Hospital to get a brain mapping done by the Mumbai police. Pardesi was also put to a lie-detector test. A Forensic Science Laboratory doctor had conducted the narco-analysis test on Pardesi. Though B.M. Mohan, Director of FSL, refused to divulge the results of the test and left it to the investigating officer to draw the inference, he said he will hand over the report to the police in about three weeks.
Jain in the meanwhile complained of chest pain and breathlessness for which she was taken to JJ hospital. There are some interesting facets of Jain'scase. The police allege that Jain met Arun Gawli along with her father to give supari (money). Dagdi Chawl, claims that Gawli had tipped off the police after Jain met him in connection with the supari. Police sources further claim Gawli wanted to preempt the police because an investigation was already due and he knew that the net was closing in. It couldn'tget more intense, just like a Ram Gopal Verma'smovie.
The present government does not seem to even understand the gravity of the situation. Preeti Jain'scase is only a harbinger of things to come.
The larger issue here remains: why does the underworld become the first resort for the rich and the powerful for instant justice. Bollywood'sromances with Dawood and his ilk are actually only the proverbial tip of the ice berg. Even construction builders, real estate agents, hotel and restaurant owners, money lenders, et al have made the underworld their first choice for settling disputes, often violent and bloody. The rough-necks today come much cheaper as news reports suggest young boys from villages being recruited for as small a sum as Rs 5,000 to kill and go home with return fare.
The impotence of the criminal justice system (not barring the police and its inefficiency) has hugely contributed to this trend. The moment we talk about police reforms, everyone quotes the Gujarat riots as if the inefficiencies of Mumbai police can be papered over as less important in the priority list. On the other hand, the burgeoning number of cases in the courts is no more a matter of concern for the government. Former Union law minister Arun Jaitley had set in motion judicial reforms with the focus on disposing off the cases and making the judiciary more efficient. The present government does not seem to even understand the gravity of the situation. Preeti Jain'scase is only a harbinger of things to come.