April 23, 2019

The Strange Phone Calls of Eknath Khadse – How True

Over the past two days, there has been a raging controversy about the phone calls that Dawood Ibrahim has supposed to have made to various political leaders in India, especially Mumbai.

The news channel India-Today was the first to start the ball rolling with their so called “breaking story” where Rahul Kanwal in his usual pomp and bombast started claiming that the channel was approached by an “ethical” hacker by the name Manish Bangale, who is supposedly based in Vadodara.

The first issue to note is that there is nothing called an ‘ethical hacker’. All hackers are basically thieves who hack into computer networks to steal data. They just try to justify their crimes by pretending to do their illegal work for “national” reasons. So, according to this Bangale, he hacked into the website of a Pakistani telecom company and tracked down four phone numbers belonging to the Don’s wife and then, downloaded the bills of these numbers. We are supposed to believe that while Bangale was breaching the firewalls of PTC (which by the way provides phone and data services to the Government of Pakistan departments), his efforts were completely un-noticed by either the administrators of the website, or the intelligence community hackers on both side of the borders.

Rahul Kanwal then grandly announced that the India Today team had approached ‘top level’ officers in the Indian intelligence communities to verify the claims of Manish Bangale’s efforts, and according to Kanwal these officers confirmed that the records were genuine. We have to take this statement of Kanwal with total disbelief, since intelligence officers, as a matter of policy do not communicate with news agencies.

To give his story some sort of credibility; he got a former officer of R&AW, Mr. Ranade and Mr. M.N. Singh who is former Commissioner of Police of Mumbai to give their professional opinion on this matter. But, try as he might; he was not able to get either officer to commit themselves to the genuineness of this story and their comments were generic in nature. Kanwal then started his bombastic cock and bull show of how he had records of the Don calling many politicians across political parties of every type and how; because he wanted the law to take its course, he was not divulging any names on the TV show.

But somehow, from all the names of the politicians being contacted by Don Dawood, only the name of Eknath Khadse made it to headline news. And there- in lies the real story.

We have to consider the following issues to put this story in its correct perspective.

  1. Dawood Ibrahim is not an idiot. In an era of internet phones and VoIP services that mask the identity of the caller and the call – receiver, why would the Don call not only Indian politicians on a regular phone but also his bankers in London as claimed by Rahul Kanwal?
  2. If the Don was technically illiterate, he could always have used various phones in names of many of his business associates, without the world having a clue.
  3. Eknath Khadse is not a raw, new to politics, ready to make money at any cost politician. Khadse started his career in politics as a student leader, decades ago and is smart enough to avoid stupid mistakes. Even his worst critics will agree that over the last two decades that Khadse has been in politics, he has never been connected to the Indian mafia or organized crime.
  4. The man who started all this, Manish Bhangale is, or should be the prime suspect in this sordid affair; and for two reasons. One, any hacker who is very familiar to the complexities of the internet does not need to approach a TV channel to break a story. He can easily use the resources of the social media to take the story global. And two; hackers by their very nature are secretive and remain anonymous. Bangale is putting himself in the limelight for his five minutes of fame, and we should not be surprised if the Indian faction of Hackers Anonymous, as well as the Pakistani hackers make him a prime target and hack his accounts.
  5. The role of India-Today and specifically Rahul Kanwal is suspect. From making wild statements of having records of calls from Dawood made to many politicians across the party lines, suddenly the focus is only on Eknath Khadse and through him only on the BJP.
  6. The entry of Aam Aadmi Party’s Preeti Sharma Menon onto this band-wagon is not surprising. AAP has been trying to get a toe hold in Maharashtra ever since their paid volunteers were beaten black-and-blue at Azad Maidan about two years ago. Preeti Menon herself has been accused in the past by her AAP colleague Mayank Gandhi of dissolution of the party’s Maharashtra unit, a charge she denies. Khadse’s statement that he intends to drag Menon to the Courts for defamation is a welcome fight-back strategy against those who might be making baseless allegations.
  7. The Mumbai Police did take the accusations made by India – Today with extreme seriousness, and after investigation, the Joint Commissioner of Police – (Crime), Atul Kulkarni has officially stated that no calls were made or received from the Don’s number to Khadse’s number. Basically, it means that India Today and Rahul Kanwal lied.

Neither India Today, nor Rahul Kanwal are known for their integrity or honesty. Countless times, Kanwal has been caught on social media for spinning stories for the benefit of Congress Party or the Gandhi family. They both deserve the dubious honor of being named as “Presstitutes”.

Jai Hind.

Pic Courtesy: Wiki

Author: “Sardar” Sanjay Matkar


Twitter: @sanjaymatkar

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