The Muslim underworld reared its head in the city in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They were active mostly in areas such as Shivajinagar, Tannery Road, JJ Nagar, Ilyasnagar and other Muslim-dominated areas.
Abu Shair, Koli Fayaz, Tanveer, Ishtiyak, Sajjad, Nazir, Tarakari Khaleel and Chappal Hamid were a few of the Muslim dons known for their notoriety. Later, Athush, Brigade Aza, Tarakari Kaleel, Arif Altaf, Imran, Reebok Naseem, and the now slain Diwan Ali joined the brigade.
Koli Fayaz, alias Murgi Fayaz, had a free run in Shivajinagar area before he was done to death. His trusted lieutenant Tanveer took over from him, and soon became a dreaded extortionist.
Tanveer, with roots in Jammu and Kashmir, was a tailor and took to petty crimes in Shivajinagar area before joining Fayaz’s gang. He and two other rowdies were once targeted by Muthappa Rai’s men, who ended up killing another criminal in a case of mistaken identity.
Fayaz’s nephew Shakeel Ahmed is currently a corporator, representing Bharathi Nagar on a Congress ticket. Ahmed had at least 15 cases pending against him when he won the elections.
The Muslim underworld has been suspected of establishing links with gun rackets. It has been traced to Naseem of JJ Nagar, who came in contact with Haveri Aslam of Jharkhand, while both were in jail. Aslam sourced guns from dealers at Purulia in West Bengal and sent them to Naseem, who sold it in the city.
The underworld in Bangalore kept pace with the economic development of the city, focusing on different lucrative verticals.
They found the pasture green as several businesses employed them to protect their personal as well as financial interests.
The rise of Kodigehalli Mune Gowda in the late 1960s was linked with such interests. Arrack shops and brothels paid him protection money (hafta) so that their businesses would be affected by other small-time rowdies, and more importantly, the police.
Gowda soon became a terror, and was crowned as Bangalore’s first underworld don. He remained the undisputed don and controlled all of Bangalore till Kotwal Ramachandra and MP Jairaj entered the field in the 1970s.
Ramachandra and Jairaj did not confine their business interests to just arrack shops and brothels. They expanded their ‘cover’ to wine shops, games and massage parlours.
The scene changed in the 1980s and 1990s when a new crop of dons entered the scene. Prominent among them were Muthappa Rai. The new entrants had interest in real estate, live bands and the supply of adulterated oil. Rai reportedly was associated with Dawood Ibrahim.
The gun culture was introduced during this time — 1989 to be precise - when Jairaj was shot dead. The city witnessed the first contract (supari) killing during this period. It was also during this period that the Muslim underworld became active in Bangalore.