Pappu Kalani - Life and Career

Life and Career

Born into a wealthy family, Pappu Kalani's uncle Dunichand Kalani was the president of the local unit of Indian National Congress. The family ran a liquor business and owned a number of distilleries and hotels. In the 1970s, Ulhasnagar was a booming lawless town settled by entrepreneurial refugees who had emigrated from Sindh, Pakistan after the Partition of India in 1947. Sharp business practices (Ulhasnagar was known for its "duplicate"s or forged goods) combined with illegal construction and unauthorised industrial units made for an atmosphere where "protection" emerged as a profitable business.

A number of gangs were soon working under the patronage of political parties. Pappu Kalani's uncle Keemat Kalani, also affiliated with the Congress party, ran the gang headed by Chiman Tejwani, while the opposing parties, under politician Gop Behrani, employed the gang of Govind Vachani and Gopal Rajwani. It is reported that both gangs were connected to the Dawood Ibrahim gang. Use was also made of the media, and hush money were regularly paid to journalists.

In 1983, Gopal Rajwani was for a while aligned with Pappu Kalani, and they executed the brutal knife murder of the editor A V Narayan of Blitz magazine. Rajwani was arrested for this, but he was eventually acquitted due to lack of witnesses and shoddy prosecution. Nothing came out of this dastardly murder however as the Indian press never stood up against this criminal.

In 1986, Pappu Kalani was elected president of the Ulhasnagar Municipal Council (UMC), and the same year, he was chosen by the Indian National Congress party as its candidate for the state legislature from Ulhasnagar, and easily won the seat.

Meanwhile Gopal Rajwani and Pappu had fallen out over the division of extortion money. In April 1985, Rajwani was arrested in an extortion case, apparently at Kalani's bidding. As Rajwani was being escorted to the police station in a rickshaw, Kalani arranged for his men to attack him with bombs and guns. Rajwani survived the attack and eventually relocated to Dubai, with the help of Haji Mastan, a notorious smuggler and senior don of that time.

In April 1989, Pappu's uncle Dudhichand Kalani was murdered, allegedly by the Govind Vachani / Gopal Rajwani gang, at the instance of Gop Behrani. This led to reprisal killings – as many as 22 murders in five months. It was said during this period that "there would be a killing in Ulhasnagar every Tuesday." It was during this period that Pappu Kalani emerged as the leader of his own organized crime gang.

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