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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 02, Dated January 16, 2010
cover story


Done In By The Don Link, Saved By Bungling Cops


Alleged to be mobster Chhota Rajan’s hitman and close associate. Arrested in July 2005 on charges of extorting businessmen

But MCOCA judge gave him bail three years later because the complaint was filed after his arrest in New Delhi

Tanashah was back in controversy after videos emerged showing him and police officers dancing at a Christmas partry thrown by an alleged Rajan aide in Mumbai

FAREED TANASHAH, Alleged Chhota Rajan aide

AS FAREED Tanashah enters the housing society in the north Mumbai suburb of Tilak Nagar and reaches his ground floor flat, his pet dogs, tied to a window grill by chains, jump up frantically and bark to catch their master’s attention. A goateed man Tanashah calls Chacha follows him like a shadow. Six men in their twenties, their firearms hidden from the casual gaze, line the outer precincts of the society looking out to snip trouble.

Tanashah, 37, has been accused of being a hitman for mobster Chhota Rajan. He has been booked under MCOCA for extortion. He, however, denies the charge.

This isn’t the first time such charges have come his way. Understandably, Tanashah does not feel safe even at home. “Only they are the most loyal,” he says, pointing at his Labradors.

The events of Tanashah’s life could make for a bestselling thriller. Although he studied to be a software engineer, Tanashah has faced criminal charges for more than a decade for allegedly being a gangster. In July 2005, a crime branch team of the Mumbai Police arrested him in New Delhi on charges of threatening Mumbai-based businessmen with the purpose of extorting money from them.

However, there were reports that Tanashah’s arrest was an embarrassment for Indian intelligence agencies, which had reportedly trained him for an undercover operation aimed at taking out Indian government’s long-time nemesis, the Pakistan- based underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. It was also reported that at the time of his arrest, Tanashah was in constant touch with a former director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

He was brought to Mumbai and booked under MCOCA. It should seem extremely lucky that despite the past that he has, he managed to secure bail three years after his arrest. Actually, the events preceding and following his arrest ensured that this onetime alleged gangland shooter got bail.


One of the reasons Special MCOCA Judge RC Avachat gave Tanashah bail is that his arrest preceded the complaint that was lodged against him with the Mumbai police that year. While both Tanashah and his alleged accomplice Vicky Malhotra were arrested on July 10, 2005, the complaint against them is dated July 11, 2005. Prakash Shetty, Tanashah’s lawyer, says this fact clearly indicates an attempt to falsely implicate him in the case. According to Shetty, Tanashah was not convicted in any of the five MCOCA cases that had been brought against him before this particular case.

Police work has certainly been shoddy in his arrest. The prosecution claims that the police found seven mobile phones in the possession of Tanashah as well as with Malhotra, when the duo were arrested in New Delhi.

But the defence successfully argued before the judge that this fact is not reflected in the panchnama — the list of seizures prepared in front of witnesses — filed at the time of the arrests. Two complaints were filed on July 11 and 12, 2005 alleging that Tanashah had phoned the complainants and given them an international number to call Chhota Rajan. But the police now say those calls were made between May 31 and July 5, 2005, nearly two months before they were arrested. The police could not furnish any call log or transcripts of phone taps to back its claims. The absence of evidence led the judge to grant Tanashah bail.

Also, a co-accused named John D’Souza, who police said had named Tanashah in his confession, turned hostile. Judge Avachat also dismissed the confession because there was nothing in it to even suggest that D’Souza and Tanashah had ever committed any offence together. “There is no such material to indicate direct involvement of [Tanashah] in any of the crime much less the crime in question,” the judge said.

Last month, Tanashah found himself battling yet another controversy. Television news ran a shocking video that purportedly showed a senior officer of Mumbai Police dancing away at a Christmas party allegedly hosted by DK Rao, a man police say is a top lieutenant of Chhota Rajan. Rao was acquitted in a MCOCA case this year after being in jail for 11 years. Tanashah, too, was found making merry at that all-night party.

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 02, Dated January 16, 2010

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