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Threats, fake cases against rivals, ‘dabang’ clout — the life of bookie Anil Jaisinghani

Jaisinghani took on rivals, be it politicians, businessmen & even cops, by trying to implicate them in false cases. Devendra Fadnavis' wife had filed case against his daughter.

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New Delhi/Mumbai: Sometime in 2014, Anil Jaisinghani, the bookie at the centre of the FIR filed by Amruta Fadnavis, approached the Mumbai Police with information against an alleged betting and match fixing racket run by another bookie, ThePrint has learnt.

The police acted on the information and raided the accused in a northern suburb of Mumbai, after which Jaisinghani came back asking for security cover on the pretext of receiving threats, a senior former Mumbai Police officer recalled.

Multiple politicians and acquaintances of Jaisinghani from Ulhasnagar, from where he hails, tell stories of the notorious bookie, and even his son, traveling through the satellite town of Mumbai with police cover, using the optics to fuel his clout.

They say, this was his game – going to the police with inputs of his rivals, allegedly threatening his enemies and filing “fake” cases, and trying to create a larger-than-life image in his backyard by claiming proximity to senior police officers and politicians.

Last month, Amruta filed an FIR with the Malabar Hill police station against Jaisinghani’s daughter Aniksha for allegedly trying to bribe her with Rs 1 crore for quashing the multiple cases against her history sheeter father. In the Maharashtra assembly, her husband and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis alleged that this was a conspiracy to trap him.

“Jaisinghani liked to have a ‘dabang’ (fearless) image. He has concocted several cases against his rivals and filed FIRs. Ultimately, there have been counter cases filed against him too,” Ajitsingh Labana, a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator in Ulhasnagar, told ThePrint

Labana, a political rival of Jainsinghani who was with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), said he too has had battles of FIRs and counter FIRs with the bookie.

According to court records, Anil Jaisinghani faces at least 14 cases in various police stations, including those at Ulhasnagar in Vithalwadi, Azad Maidan and Sakinaka in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Goa. One of these also led his daughter Aniksha — who the Mumbai Police arrested Thursday in connection with Amruta’s FIR — seeking anticipatory bail from a Mumbai court.

Jaisinghani has also non-bailable warrants issued against him in various states, including Maharashtra and Gujarat, and had been declared an absconding ‘proclaimed offender’ by courts.

The Bombay High Court in multiple orders rapped the Mumbai Police for being unable to trace Jaisinghani. Many of these cases were filed when Fadnavis was Maharashtra CM and in charge of the home portfolio from 2014 to 2019.

In the assembly, Fadnavis had said Aniksha befriended his wife in 2015-16 under the guise of being a designer. Jaisinghani had even approached Fadnavis in 2015 to complain against a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) for allegedly abducting him and trying to extort money, as per an inquiry report on the complaint, a copy of which is with ThePrint.

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‘Fake’ complaint against cop

As per the inquiry report dated 14 June, 2016, Jaisinghani alleged that Amar Jadhav, who was then DCP with the Mumbai Police, had in 2009 called him to forcibly gamble and extorted “crores of rupees”. The bookie also complained that he was kept confined for four days without filing an FIR.

During the inquiry, Jaisinghani claimed he was the editor of local weeklies ‘Atom’ and ‘Town Darshan’ and had in one of his writings in 2001, alleged Jadhav to be a hafta collector for the then Thane Police chief. This is why, he claimed, Jadhav filed a betting case against him in 2002 and 2009.

The inquiry, conducted by Mumbai Police’s then Additional Police Commissioner (Crimes) K.M.M Prasanna, gave a clean chit to Jadhav.

“It is proved that the complainant made these allegations out of the fear of revealing his connections with international betting cartel or other criminals and to ease his release by affecting the investigation in his offence,” the report said, slamming the complaint as “imaginary, false and baseless.”

Jadhav took voluntary retirement from the police force in 2017.

In a statement issued to reporters Friday, Jadhav said, “I raided and arrested him (Jaisinghani) in 2004 and 2009. Aggrieved by my actions, he had levelled serious allegations of false case, extortion etc…this is the only allegation I have ever faced in my entire career.”

“I have no punishment in my entire career and have been awarded DG’s insignia for meritorious services,” he added.

‘Fake’ rape case 

A former BJP MLC told ThePrint requesting anonymity, “Jaisinghani said he knew politicians from across parties, but did not care about anybody. He only cares about his clout and money, and uses it to target his rivals.”

The MLC gave an example of how Jaisinghani allegedly fabricated a drug case against businessmen Kishore Keshwani, Nand Jethani and Kai Jethani in Assam. Keshwani, also an Ulhasnagar resident, and Jaisinghani have had a running feud, filing several police cases against each other.

One of such cases against Jaisinghani entangled Aniksha, a postgraduate in MA Literature (English) from Mumbai’s CHM College. As per court records, in February 2016, Jaisinghani, along with 11 others, framed Keshwani in a false rape case in Goa.

However, the alleged victim, Tulika Katare, confessed to the magistrate that she filed a false complaint on being threatened by Jaisinghani. In her statement, Tulika alleged that after she was made to file the false rape case, Jaisinghani would forcibly keep her in his custody in Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati, or Indore.

According to an order passed by a Goa court in November 2017, she also alleged that Aniksha shifted her to her paternal aunt’s house, where she was confined in a room, and that Aniksha threatened her family members on phone.

The prosecution has alleged that the fake rape case was filed due to a property dispute between Jaisinghani and Keshwani. The Goa Police filed a charge sheet in August 2017 and the trial is going on in a Panaji court.

The Goa Police, who hasn’t named Aniksha in the charge sheet, issued a notice to her under Section 41(A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) on 9 August 2018 asking her to appear for questioning. This was recorded in a court order passed by the sessions judge in Goa in August 2020.

She then told the police that she was suffering from a slipped disc and had been advised complete bed rest. The investigating officer visited her house in the first week of January 2019, to record her statement, following which Aniksha filed a transit bail application in the Bombay High Court, which in July 2019 allowed her four weeks to reach Goa to file an anticipatory bail application without being arrested.

Aniksha eventually got anticipatory bail from a Panaji court on 4 August, 2020.

Ulhasnagar house seized

In September 2018, a metropolitan magistrate court in Esplanade, Mumbai declared Jaisinghani a proclaimed offender. This was for a case registered against Jaisinghani at the Azad Maidan police station, for allegedly forging a medical certificate to seek transit bail in an Enforcement Directorate (ED) case in 2016.

Sources in the Mumbai Police said that Jaisinghani’s wife was ailing and died at the hospital and that he allegedly forged the medical certificate to claim his presence was required at the hospital at all times.

The Azad Maidan FIR was registered on the basis of information provided by Keshwani, who alleged that the investigating officer was unable to trace Jaisinghani.

The court also passed an order under Section 83 of the CrPC, which allows  for attachment of the property of the absconder. It directed attachment of the ‘Jaisinghani House’ in Ulhasnagar, but did not take the same action on an Ahmedabad hotel registered in the name of Jaisinghani and his wife.

The police challenged this order before the civil and sessions court in Mumbai, demanding attachment of the hotel as well. Objecting to the attachment, Aniksha filed an application claiming that she has 33 per cent share in her mother’s 50 per cent share in the property.

In January 2019, the sessions judge ordered the Collector of Ahmedabad district to attach 66.66 per cent share of Jaisinghani in the hotel, observing that this is necessary “as the accused is evading arrest”.

Jaisinghani’s  neighbours said his old house in Ulhasnagar was not seized and his daughter Aniksha and son Akshaan lived there even after he went absconding. The Mumbai Police on Thursday arrested Aniksha from this Ulhasnagar house.

‘Threatening’ calls while on the run

In another case filed by the ED at Ahmedabad, a non-bailable warrant was issued against him by a court on 30 May 2015, in a PMLA case. This was after he failed to appear before the Assistant Director, ED, Ahmedabad, who issued summons against him.

Another forgery case was registered at the Sola high court police station in Ahmedabad in 2016, after Jaisinghani allegedly filed forged documents before the Gujarat High Court challenging the non-bailable warrant issued against him in May 2015.

The Bombay High Court has passed several orders expressing its disappointment with the Mumbai Police’s inability to trace Jaisinghani.

In one such order passed on 18 July 2018, the court said that “it is impossible to believe that in today’s world the whereabouts of a person can remain in wraps.” In another order passed on 21 August, the court said it was “not satisfied” with the progress in investigation and with the reasons given for not apprehending Jaisinghani. The court said it does not “find any sincere efforts on the part of the Investigating Officer for apprehending the accused”.

As per an order passed by the high court on 17 September, a non-bailable warrant was also issued against Jaisinghani on 23 August, in a case registered at Sakinaka police station.

While he remained absconding, a complaint was filed in the Ulhasnagar police station by his former business partner Sunil Arjandas Lalwani alleging that Jaisinghani was threatening him on call. He had also submitted the mobile numbers from which he was receiving these calls, as per a 2018 Bombay High Court order. In response, the  government lawyer told the court that the police are trying to trace these numbers.

As per records with the Registrar of Companies, Lalwani and Jaisinghani were promoters in Ulhasnagar-based Akshaan Hotels Limited. Lalwani resigned as a director in December 2013.

(Edited by Tony Rai)

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