Thank you Induji
Savdhaan India, January 20, 2013
Mohnish Bahl's voice-over takes us through the story of the city of Bombay. In 1960, the city in water, "afloat" on the ocean, was growing rapidly as many industries brought prosperity and economic growth. But along side a new illegal industry was born, the underworld. The prosperity of the underworld took off with the smuggling of cloth and had extended to gold. By 1980, the underworld changed its faade, it now extended to the smuggling of drugs. These drugs hit the Gen-Next as many innocents lost their lives. In 2000, Bombay was christened Mumbai. Today, in 2013, the merciless and dangerous hands of the underworld have invaded the homes of the average Mumbaikar. The housing development business has also now been appropriated by the hands of criminals who utilize the same-old illegal means… this is the new area in the tentacles of the underworld – redevelopment.
Money exchanges hands surreptitiously, guns are carried openly, and finally we see that on the streets in broad daylight there is a blatant life-threatening attack on a man, who is out on a morning jog. Who were these people? Asks Mohnish. Why was a gun pointed at 32-year old Roshan Ingeenewalla? While the miscreants failed to kill him, why was he threatened? Roshan, in a state of shock, talks to some well-wishers, his close friends Akram and Shetty, and decides to go to the police. They accompany him as he reveals that he suspects a builder, Datta. He tells the police of how a proposal for redevelopment had been put forward by this builder and it was a devious proposal. While the owners were united in ensuring they were given a fair deal, the underworld don, "Datta Bhai", who once owned a small "dabela" (a cowshed), is today the undisputed "king" of Mumbai's real estate. His younger brother, Mohan Datta controls this "business", which has just one functional principle – make one "offer", if that is not accepted, shoot.
One "political middleman" informs the Datta brothers of the Jogi housing society that could be taken up for re-development and that the secretary Roshan could be "handled". On the other hand, Roshan is checking the background of Datta and Mohan builders. "But it's your wedding in a few days, how about concentrating on that?" asks a fond and caring father. Roshan passes that off casually as he says that it was not just his personal interest but also in the interest of every resident of the society. One error would entail life long suffering for every resident!
Roshan was doing exactly what a straightforward citizen would do, Mohnish Bahl points out. It is most essential to read the agreement carefully and ensure that it has all the clauses, which would safeguard the interests of the members of the society. Before handing over a society to any builder it is important to ensure that you have his entire track record. As Roshan discovers, the hands of the builders Datta and Mohan are sullied and in the hold of the underworld. He tells the co-residents about various cases he has discovered. Then most of the residents agree with Roshan's advise, the "insider" informs the mafia Datta duo. Consequently, as Roshan leaves the police station after registering his complaint, he is shot at… this second attack on his life, in the same day, proves fatal.
Mohnish expresses his anguish and evident anger at this blatant killing. This was not an isolated case! In the year 2012 in Mumbai, 35 people had been wiped out in much the same way. While on the one hand was Roshan's honesty, on the other side, ready to kill was the greedy, unethical redeveloper-political nexus, for whom the life of one "Roshan" had no value. Undoubtedly, there was the nefarious hand of an insider as well; the person within the society who's conscience was already "sold" in the hands of greed.
Shaken by the insurmountable loss, Roshan's father Cyrus, now had only one goal: to fulfill Roshan's dream of the redevelopment of the society for the benefit of its residents. But would anyone support him, would they be able side-step the treacherous mala fide intent? The "insider" continued to instigate fear and put pressure on Cyrus and the others. The father went every single day to the police station asking the same question… have you found out anything? The police also did not stand up to fight the case because of the pressure from the mafia. While Cyrus was determined to fight for his son's rights, everyone else was ready to succumb to the underworld pressure.
The "insiders", who actually manipulated Roshan, shockingly were Akram and Shetty, his childhood friends. They were the ones who were actually responsible for his death. They appeared to be upright and sympathetic, but they led Roshan to his violent end. It turns out, they had already taken "commission" from Datta and Mohan builders to manouvre this redevelopment contract to them. This was the horrendous reality. Mohnish Bahl gives a very strong warning, that whatever it may be, one must be absolutely aware and cautious about every contact and relationship, and conscious of whom one can trust so that no can ever take advantage of us. This is so essential especially in money matters, as greed turns humans into demons. Roshan could never have dreamt that his childhood friends would betray him thus. But just think, Mohnish points out emphatically, if Roshan had had any inkling of Akram and Shetty's underworld connection, his life could have been saved!
Now Cyrus was threatened blatantly on the phone. Cyrus informed the police of the call he received and the police was still helpless! Cyrus was appalled, but what was disconcerting was that the same Akram and Shetty accompanied him to the police station! Sure enough, they reported to the "don" that Cyrus is constantly going to the police and it was time to put an end to that. The killer came out in the open and threatened Cyrus and attacks and his wife as they sat in a restaurant. Cyrus described the assailant, Baban, to the police and got a sketch made; and the first success for Cyrus was the arrest of this link. But in no time, the bail application reached the police station and Baban was out. Mohan Builders were now anxious to get the 1000-crore building in their hands. Akram and Shetty tried to convince Cyrus that the building was unsafe, and that they were afraid for him and his wife. But Cyrus was adamant: "my wife and I now have nothing to fear". The pressure mounted as the culprits simulated situations to declare the building as unsafe. Cyrus brought proposals from others builders, and stuck to his path of honesty and integrity; he appealed to the co-residents and inspired them to be fearless and determined. They chose another builder. Yet again Akram and Shetty informed the Datta duo. Instantly the new builder got killed in broad daylight. The police was in absolute denial of each proof. Was the police also in the same nexus? Had large sums of money changed hands here or was it just fear? Finally, a constable quietly advised Cyrus to appeal to the media.
Cyrus and Fenny now had only one recourse: A fast unto death. With public pressure and outcry, the media took up Roshan's case and demanded justice. Finally pressure mounted on the local police, and Baban was traced. Senior police offers held him in remand for eight hours and finally, he confessed. For a mere 50,000 rupees he had killed Roshan. Akram and Shetty were taken into custody for the role they played in betraying their friend, Roshan, for money. The builders were arrested and all their projects confiscated for scrutiny.
As Mohnish Bahl unveils these grim facts of the nexus of the underworld, he states that in the area of redevelopment far too many laws have been blatantly violated in abject greed. The Maharashtra Cooperative Act of 1960, Section 79A does provide specific guidelines for societies. For example, unless two-thirds of a governing body is in consensus, redevelopment projects cannot be arbitrarily taken up. All the laws pertaining to housing societies are available on the Internet says Mohnish. Read and understand the law so that in your fight against injustice, the law should be your strongest weapon, is his strong advise. Mohnish Bahl's determined voice of caution: if you are alert, only then can you be safe. Make yourselves aware and alert, as Mumbai fights back!