Bhagvanji Raiyani for BeyondHeadlines
It was about 1981.
Julio Rebeiro, the Mumbai Police Commissioner was a guest speaker in a breakfast meeting of Lions Club of Juhu at a five star hotel. He spoke on crime, underworld, law and order, security and protection of people and so on.
His speech as usual followed Q-A session.
I shot a question:
Sanjay Dutt, a film hero and the son of famous actor couple Nargis and Sunil Dutt, fires several round in the air, scaring the residents in the Bandra neighbourhood and frightening the birds and animals, your men simply picks him up, take to police station and release him after warning.
How such ruffian gets an arm licence when I being in a risky real estate business (then) and the only male member in my family struggling for a licence since long but not getting?
Mr.Rebeiro turned speechless for a monent and then asked me to meet him the next day.
When I met him, my file was on his table and he said that since I had already approached State’s Home Minister, he couldn’t help.
Within a week thereafter, I received an interview call from the office of Vilasrao Deshmukh, the then Home Minister of Maharashtra. I was warmly received by him and after patiently hearing my representation, granted the licence.
In 1982, I purchased a .32 bore french make pistol for Rs.25000, got trained at Mazgaon Police, joined Bombay Rifle Club and went for practice regularly at worli’s Maharashtra Rifle Assoiation.
But during 25 years of holding the licence, I couldn’t kill a mosquito let alone a dacoit.
The most interesting story comes now.
When I went to sell off this pistol to an arms dealer at Crawfford Marked in 2007, he asked me how much I expected. I reluctantly quoted Rs.35000 assuming to get atleast my original cost of Rs.25000 after negotiation.
He said I was fool! It was worth Rs.1.25 lakh and he would pay that much. This was a big shock and a pleasant surperise for me to know that any businessman can be that honest. But he kept his word and I walked out with five times the original price of the gun after keeping for 25 years and he completed the procedure of getting my licence cancelled.
(Bhagwanji Raiyani is well known to the media as an activist who files scores of Public Interest Litigations in Bombay High Court and Supreme Court.)