Manish Lala, during one of the interrogation sessions with me (former commis- sioner of police, Delhi, Neeraj Kumar), mentioned that Dawood (Ibrahim) might be willing to give himself up to the CBI. He offered to speak with D and discuss the proposition and encourage him to return.
Keeping my seniors in the loop, I allowed him to use my secret office phone to get in touch
with Dawood. Unlisted and protected phone lines were provided those days to select officers
for top-secret operations.
I not only recorded the conversation, but heard it over speakerphone as well with no one
else present in my office except Lala.
Manish Lala first called Sunil Sawant aka Sautya (the ‘defense minister’ of D-company)
who in turn contacted Iqbal (Dawood’s younger brother). Iqbal brought Dawood on line
using the conferencing facility.
A fairly long telephone call between Manish Lala and Dawood Ibrahim ensued.
After relating to D the sequence of events leading up to his being in CBI custody, Lala reassured Dawood that he himself had seen how fair and considerate the CBI was to him. Lala
further told D it was time for him (Dawood) to come out in the open and present his case to
Dawood did not sound averse
to the idea.
Lala then asked him whether
he would be willing to speak with
the DIG (deputy inspector general) in whose custody he had voluntarily come. Dawood agreed
readily and thereafter followed
long dialogues between the don
and me on three different occasions: June 10, June 20 and June
My first conversation with him
started on a rather awkward note.
Maintaining my officiousness, I
asked him: ‘Haan batayiye, aap
mujhe kuchh batana chahte hain,
jaisa Manish ne mujhe kaha hai.
(Yes, I understand from Manish
that you have something to tell
me. Please go ahead).’
The don spoke in a typical
Mumbai accent, with confidence
and an utter lack of fear. He made
no attempt to please me, as is the
wont of certain criminals when
they are dealing with state
He simply said, “Saheb, iske
pehle ki main kuchh bataoon,
pehle aap batayiye ki aapko kya
lagta hai ki maine Mumbai mein
blast karwaye hain? (Sir, before I
tell you anything, would you
please tell me whether you too feel
that I organized the blasts in
“Sawaal ka jawaab aap sawaal
se de rahe hain. Mujhe kya lagta
hai yeh mayaney nahin rakhta.
Agar aap kuchh kehna chahte hain to kahiye. (You are answering my
question with a counter question. What I feel is of no consequence. If you
have something to tell me, please go ahead).”
After this initial mind game, he went on to say the following:
Soon after the bomb blasts, when his name started appearing in the
media as one of the prime suspects, he had expressed his desire to the
then commissioner of police, Mumbai, to present his side of the story.
But, regrettably, Dawood claimed, the then commissioner refused to
talk to him.
D admitted that he had met Dawood Taklya and Tiger Memon (the
two main accused in the serial blasts). However, that was in connection
with a dispute between Tiger Memon and the smuggling syndicate of
Haji Ahmed, Salim Sarang and Aslam Patni.
According to Dawood Ibrahim, Dawood Taklya used to work for Tiger
Memon, but, of late, had started working for Haji Ahmed’s syndicate,
which had led to several disputes. He (Dawood) heard both sides and
ruled that Taklya should resume working for Tiger, his first employer.
He explained the reason behind his verdict to Taklya and Tiger:
Taklya had worked with Tiger for a long time before he came in contact
with Haji Ahmed. Therefore, it was only appropriate that he (Taklya)
continue to work for his first boss (Tiger).
After this decision, Tiger Memon had, in Taklya’s presence, informed
D that Taklya was extremely mazhabi (religious) and could do anything for the sake of Islam.
D then patted Taklya on the back and told him to keep his religious fervor alive.
Dawood Ibrahim said he had never expected that Tiger Memon would use Dawood Taklya
to send arms, ammunition and explosives for subversive activities in Mumbai.
When I asked Dawood if he could deny Anees sending weapons to Sanjay Dutt, he confirmed that the film star had indeed been sent arms by his younger brother. However, that
had nothing to do with the blasts...
D said that by making this admission, he was only trying to convince me that he was being
honest. He knew that in the process he had gone to the extent of implicating his own brother.
D also said that it could be verified with Taklya that during the meeting in Dubai, wherein
allegedly he (D) had planned the serial blasts, he had in reality discussed a totally different
issue. They had talked about a well that was supposed to be dug in Taklya’s village with a
donation from D. The contract had been given to one Sayyed Munim.
Taklya complained to D that Sayyed Munim had misappropriated a part of the donation. D
had promised to look into the matter and take action.
During one conversation he
said: “Saheb, mujhe yeh sab karna
hota to mujhe hathiyar bhejne ki
zaroorat nahi hoti. Hamare ladkon ke paas kaafi hathiyar pade
hain. (Sir, if I had to do all this, I
need not have sent any weapons.
My boys have enough at hand).”
“Kya aapke ladkon ke paas
itna RDX bhi pada hai ki
aap serial dhamake kara sakte
hain?” I asked him. (Do your boys
have that much RDX to cause
A flustered don fumbled for
words for a moment and replied:
“Dekho, saheb, agar main yeh sab
karta na to itni safai se karta
ki police ke paas akkha saboot
mere khilaf nahin milta. Aap yeh
baat samjho. Aap toh CBI mein
ho. Ek baat aur, main bhi apni
poori family ko wahan se hata
deta jaisa Tiger ne kiye la
hai. Meri ma, meri behan, sab
udhar Bambai mein hi baitha
hai” — thus evading my question
In brief, what Dawood Ibrahim
wanted to convey to me was that
Tiger Memon had approached
him (D) ostensibly in connection
with his dispute with Haji
Ahmed. During the meeting,
Tiger had tricked Taklya into
thinking that he (D) was part of
the overall conspiracy behind
sending consignments of weapons and explosives.
He (D) had not been kept in the
picture when the conspiracy was
hatched. Had he been involved, he would have executed the plan much
more artfully as well as moved his family out of Mumbai, just as Tiger
I knew all along that the alibis being presented by the don were
pure wind. Enough irrefutable evidence existed in our case file, nailing
his role behind the serial blasts. But I played along, hoping for, if nothing else, some information from him on other absconding members of
his gang or Pakistan’s ISI. With Manish Lala’s persuasive skills to support me, a slim chance of convincing Dawood to return always
Meanwhile, one of my superiors, for reasons best known to him,
asked me to stop communicating with D...
The unwritten code between federal agencies in India is that the CBI
sticks to investigation while the intelligence agencies carry out covert
operations. My superior had worked in one such organization for several years and perhaps felt such ‘adventurism’ was best left to the other
Be that as it may, that was the end of my tete-a-tete with Dawood
Excerpted from Dial D For Don: Inside Stories Of CBI Missions by Neeraj Kumar, Penguin India, with the publisher’s kind permission.
The destruction in Worli, Mumbai, March 12, 1993, a part of the serial bomb blasts that rocked the city that day. Top, former Delhi police commissioner Neeraj Kumar.
In Dial D For Don: Inside Stories Of CBI
Missions, Neeraj Kumar, one of the few
Indian cops to have spoken with Dawood
Ibrahim after the gangster fled India, reveals
what those conversations were like.
CONVERSATIONS WITH A DON