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Police to probe Lakdawala's threat to Akshay
Vijay Singh in Mumbai | November 17, 2003 21:50 IST
Last Updated: November 17, 2003 22:16 IST
Taking note of a threat delivered by gangster Ejaz Lakdawala on Sunday on the Zee News television channel to kill Hindi film star Akshay Kumar, the Mumbai police have decided to register a case and launch an investigation.
Though the actor is away in Rajasthan shooting for a Firoz Nadiadwala film, and tests would have to be conducted to confirm that the voice on the telecast was indeed Lakdawala's, the police have decided to move quickly and register a case.
Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Satyapal Singh, who is in charge of the force after Commissioner R S Sharma proceeded on leave following his interrogation in the fake stamps racket, said: "We are taking the matter seriously and will register a case on our own and take required action."
He said Zee News would be asked to submit the tape of the conversation to the crime branch, and the correspondent to whom Lakdawala spoke would be questioned.
There are three possible reasons why the Mumbai police is keen to act fast.
One, following the blot of the stamps scam, the force will do anything to prevent a fresh embarrassment.
Two, there were reports in May this year that Lakdawala had been bumped off by the rival Chhota Shakeel gang in Bangkok. If Lakdawala is alive, the police would like to know where he is and what he is up to.
Three, the last couple of years have seen Bollywood finally emerge from the underworld's shadow, thanks to some tough steps taken by former police commissioner M N Singh. It will be a shame if the cops lose the initiative now.
Speaking to a Zee News correspondent on telephone, a man believed to be Lakdawala said he would kill Akshay Kumar, whose real name is Rajeev Bhatia, after Ramzan, for allegedly saying uncomplimentary things about him in the media.
When the correspondent asked Lakdawala, 'But weren't you killed in May this year in Bangkok?' Lakdawala's reply was: "If I were, then who is this talking to you?"
With Dawood Ibrahim on the run after being declared an international terrorist by the United States treasury department and Abu Salem fighting an extradition case in Portugal, police believe Lakdawala is trying to fill the resultant vacuum in the underworld.
Lakdawala was a close associate of Chhota Rajan before he branched off on his own.
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