So, is this why Ajit Doval taught Meeran Borwankar a lesson?

Meeran Chadha Borwankar’s memoir Madam Commissioner sets the record straight on allegations that Mumbai Police had torpedoed Ajit Doval’s plan to take out India’s most wanted Dawood Ibrahim in Dubai

How was NSA Ajit Doval related to extortionist Vicky Malhotra? (photo: Getty Images)
How was NSA Ajit Doval related to extortionist Vicky Malhotra? (photo: Getty Images)

AJ Prabal

The year was 2005 and sharpshooter and extortionist Vicky Malhotra was wanted by Mumbai Police for making coercive calls to builders and businessmen in Mumbai. The frequency of such calls had increased, and a crime branch team began monitoring the calls.

They traced Malhotra’s calls from Kolkata and Delhi to Mumbai, but found that he was also in touch with someone in New Delhi who he respectfully addressed as ‘sir’. The intriguing voice of ‘sir’ did not match any known gangster, and was not familiar to police in Mumbai.

The incident finds place in retired IPS officer Meeran Chadha Borwankar's recently released autobiography Madam Commissioner, but even she does not explain why the crime branch failed to trace the phone number of ‘sir’ (possibly because they did not try?). However, having located Malhotra and Farid Tanasha, another member of Chhota Rajan’s gang, in Delhi, a team was flown to Delhi to arrest him.

The plainclothes cops found their prey in an upscale hotel in Lutyen’s Delhi, engaged in animated conversation with a stranger in the lounge. Both appeared ‘relaxed’. The team leader was providing a blow-by-blow account to Borwankar in Mumbai and when the duo abruptly left the lounge, got into a car and drove away, he sought and received the permission to follow the car and arrest Malhotra.

To cut a long story short, the Mumbai Police team intercepted the car, introduced themselves and ‘arrested’ Malhotra. The agitated stranger ordered them to release Malhotra forthwith, introduced himself as the former director of the Intelligence Bureau, and demanded that he be connected to the officer supervising the operation in Mumbai.

When Borwankar finally agreed to speak to him, the former IB director insisted that Malhotra be let off; and when Borwankar refused, he threatened by telling her, “I will teach you a lesson.” Borwankar claims in the book that she retorted by telling the stranger that she would teach him a lesson instead. The stranger turned out to be Ajit Doval, who had just retired as DIB, and is currently the national security advisor (NSA).

“Years later, a former home secretary of the Government of India gave an interview alluding that the Mumbai Police deliberately botched up a plan which involved Chhota Rajan gang members being trained by a former IB chief to carry out the execution of Dawood Ibrahim in the Middle East,” she writes in the book.

Doval denied media reports about the ‘encounter’ with Mumbai Police and claimed he was at home watching a match on TV. Malhotra was convicted in the extortion case and Tanasha, who was also arrested, was gunned down in his bedroom in Mumbai while out on bail.

Was Borwankar ‘TAUGHT A LESSON’, after all? Without spelling out the specifics, she concedes in the book that she was. Borwankar, who had the seniority and the experience to be the first woman director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, retired as DG, Police Research Bureau and NCRB.

The biography doesn’t, however, throw any more light on the curious case of an IB director ‘training’ sharpshooters after he had retired. Was the then IB director kept in the loop, was it an ‘official’ operation? 

The name of this security hotshot and his style of functioning also came up a few months ago in the context of the assassination of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada on 18 June. India officially denied a hand in the killing, but Borwankar’s memoirs make one wonder whodunit, and on whose orders.

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