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Rajiv RaiWhen a reel villain raised his voice against a real life villain
12th Nov 2005  15.02 IST
By Agencies  


Bollywood is likely to heave a sigh of relief with the extradition and subsequent arrest of gangster Abu Salem, as he had created terror in the industry with killings and extortion business, police sources said.

Till his arrest at Lisbon in 2002, a call from Salem was enough for any Bollywood personality to drench in sweat, and his notoriety was believed to be even bigger than the top underworld dons like Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan, the sources said.




And there was substance in why Salem's name created fear in the minds of stars and producers as any disobeyance of his diktat was enough to attract gunshots, the sources said.

It started with the murder of T series owner Gulshan Kumar in August 1997, when the music baron from Delhi was allegedly shot dead by Salem at the behest of some film producers and a music director.

In the same year, film producer-director Rajiv Rai escaped a murder bid allegedly by Salem when armed persons shot at him at his office in Tardeo in central Mumbai.

Rai was so shocked by the incident that he moved out of India and stayed there for many years before returning to Mumbai this year, the sources added.

In July 2001, Abu Salem men allegedly shot dead Ajit Dewani, secretary to Bollywood stars Manisha Koirala and Aftab Shivdasani , a killing which was reportedly aimed to instill fear in the minds of the Bollywood stardom.

A year before that, actor-producer Rakesh Roshan was also shot at, and police have strong suspicion that the murder bid was ordered by Salem.

Apart from the killings, Salem's name was also associated with extortion from film producers.

Late actor Amrish Puri (in the picture) was among the few who raised his voice and came out in open about the extortion demand made to him allegedly by Salem, while there were many others who succumbed to the demands without raising protest.

According to Mumbai Crime Branch sources, Salem used to target producers who came out with hit films and extort money from them.

The murder bid on Roshan was believed to be made after he refused to budge to the extortion demand by Salem, although subsequent to the attack, Roshan denied having received any threat or extortion calls from the gangster.

His attraction for Bollywood led Salem to starlet Monica Bedi, to whom he eventually married. Monica, who was struggling in Bollywood in late 90s, had visited Dubai to perform at a star show when she reportedly came in contact with Salem.

Soon Bollywood realised her proximity with Salem and as a result, Monica derived her own share of glamour and fame in the industry. She bagged some prime film assignments like Pyar, Ishq aur Mohabbat and Jodi No: 1 , thanks to her beau who was calling shots from abroad.

Later, she too fled to Europe with Salem and was arrested together at Portugal capital Lisbon, where authorities found both travelling allegedly with forged documents.

Related
Rajiv Rai
Manisha Koirala
Aftab Shivdasani
Rakesh Roshan
Amrish Puri
Pyar, Ishq aur Mohabbat
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