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Tuesday, February 23, 1999 Published at 11:05 GMT

World: South Asia

Bombay evicts 'gangster chief'

Organised crime is nothing new to Bombay

By Sanjiv Srivastava in Bombay

The Bombay police have served eviction orders on Arun Gawli, whom they allege is one of the biggest underworld chiefs operating in the country.

The special police order bans him from entering the municipal limits of Bombay for two years.

The police accuse Mr Gawli of masterminding several killings and running an extortion racket.

Cleansing Bombay

The decision against Mr Gawli is a part of the police strategy to cleanse Bombay of its dreaded underworld.

Organised crime is not new to Bombay, with the underworld dominating prostitution, drug-running and gambling operations.

However, the situation has deteriorated in recent years and there were more than 300 underworld-related kllings last year alone.

There is also more fear of the underworld, as its activities, like extortion threats and demand for protection money have begun to have a direct effect of the lives of Bombay residents.

Charges denied

Mr Gawli was arrested under a special law, the national security act, a few years ago. But the police failed to prove the charges in a court. He was released a few months ago after spending one year in jail

Many of Mr Gawli's associates have been killed in shoot-outs with the Bombay police in recent months.

He himself seldom moves out of a central Bombay slum apartment without a security cordon of women.

Mr Gavli denies having any links with the underworld and says he is being victimised for launching a political party which represents the aspirations of the poor in the state.

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