Buried with Nayeemuddin alias Nayeem — who was killed in an alleged exchange of fire with police in Telangana this month — are the secrets of his links with powers that be.
The most wanted Maoist-turned-gangster, who had virtual free run for two decades, met an end which nobody would have anticipated, given the notoriety he earned as a cold-blood murderer.
Police claimed he was killed in Shadnagar, a town about 50 km from Hyderabad, when he opened fire on policemen chasing him after a tip-off that he was trying to extort money from a businessman.
Many believe that the 45-year-old was silenced as he “knew too much”.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT), which almost on a daily basis is coming out with chilling details of his crimes including murders, extortions, land grabbing and even child abuse.
The seizure of huge cash and valuables during police raids on his dens in and around Hyderabad, and the documents of several properties worth several hundred crores he had amassed show some glimpses of the huge empire he built with patronage from his political masters and corrupt officers.
As a Maoist, he hit the headlines by killing an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, K.L. Vyas, the founder of the anti-Maoist force Greyhounds, in 1993. After being expelled from the People’s War Group (PWG) for indulging in extortion, he turned a police spy to help them effectively counter Left-wing extremism, which was then at its peak. Nayeem even eliminated some top Maoists and their sympathisers in the then united Andhra Pradesh.
He formed a gang and brutally killed those who were posing a challenge to his land-grabbing and extortion activities.
Nayeem was also wanted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as he had helped police in nabbing Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi, who were later gunned down in an “encounter” in 2005 in Gujarat.
Nayeem was also an accused in the murder of surrendered Maoist leaders Sambasivudu and Ramulu after they joined TRS.
After Telangana was formed and the TRS came to power, Nayeem allegedly started threatening its top leaders. His threats to some ministers and legislators are believed to have done him in.
Former minister and opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Uma Madhav Reddy and former Director General of Police V. Dinesh Reddy have denied any links to Nayeem after their names figured in media reports. Uma Madhav Reddy alleged that the TRS government was trying to tarnish her image and to save some leaders of the ruling party who were earlier with the TDP or the Congress.
Dinesh Reddy added a twist by admitting that it’s common for police to use surrendered Maoists as informers. While congratulating Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao for eliminating Nayeem, he claimed that the latter’s predecessor had not given clearance for the gangster’s arrest.
All three main political parties are trading allegations, with the TRS blaming TDP for nurturing Nayeem when it was in power between 1994 and 2004. The Congress party has also been accused of continuing the state support for Nayeem between 2004 and 2014.
“The SIT cannot conduct the inter-disciplinary probe and that too in different states. That’s why we are demanding investigations by the CBI,” said Congress leader Mohammed Ali Shabbir.
The network Nayeem built, the brutal fashion in which he used to eliminate his rivals, an escape from police custody and his lavish lifestyle all make it fit for a Bollywood potboiler. The disclosure that he used to have AK-47 toting female bodyguards and donned a woman’s make-up to escape adds spice to the story.
It is no wonder then that well-known filmmaker Ram Gopal Verma plans to make a three-part movie on the gangster.
Few believe that the identity of the politicians and police officers who had close links with Nayeem will ever be known.
The names of the officers who allegedly had a nexus with renegade Maoist Kattula Sammaiah were never made public. Sammaiah (28) died in 2001 after he was injured in an aborted take-off of an aircraft at Colombo airport.
Sammaiah, an accused in IPS officer Vyas’s murder, was on his way to Frankfurt for setting up a windmill project along with some relatives of a police officer, who allegedly helped him get a passport.
By Mohammed Shafeeq