Tuticorin, Madras Presidency, British India
|Died||2 January 1988|
Varadarajan Muniswami Mudaliar (1926 – 2 January 1988), also known as Vardhabhai, was an Indian gangster. For two decades from early 1960s to 1980s, he was one of the most powerful mob bosses in Bombay along with Haji Mastan and Karim Lala.
Varadarajan was born in Thoothukudi, Madras Presidency in 1926. He moved to Bombay in the early 1960s. Working as a porter at VT Station, he began his crime life by distributing illicit liquor. In association with Haji Mastan, who had by then established a smuggling operation at Bombay Port Docks, he ventured into stealing dock cargo. He later diversified into contract killings, narcotics trade and land encroachment. Through the seventies, Varadarajan controlled the criminal operations in east and north central Mumbai, Karim Lala held sway in south and central Mumbai and most smuggling and illegal construction financing was managed by Haji Mastan.
He ran a parallel judicial system within Tamil community. His word prevailed in Matunga and Dharavi areas, where Tamils were in majority.
Mumbai was ruled by the trio Haji Mastan, Karim Lala and Varadarajan Mudaliar. The trio has the solid backing of their communities. Their word was law for the people belonging to their communities.
But by mid-1980s the police officer Y.C.Pawar targeted Varadarajan Mudaliar. Most of his gang members were eliminated or imprisoned. Varadarajan Mudaliar fled from Mumbai to Chennai.
His opulent pandals at Matunga station during the annual Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations were quite famous and visited by celebrities. However, after the collapse of the cotton mills in Mumbai in the mid-1980s, their relevance ended.
Varadarajan died in Chennai on 2 January 1988 due to a heart attack. Haji Mastan brought his body to Mumbai in a chartered Indian Airlines plane for last rites as per Varda's wishes.Many people mourned his death. Life came to a standstill in Dharavi, Matunga and Sion Koliwada when his body was flown into the city.
In popular culture
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- India Today 1988: "When he died of a heart attack on 2 January, Haji Mastan - underworld king from whom he allegedly inherited a vast smuggling operation — flew to Madras to accompany his body to Bombay in a chartered Indian Airlines jet."
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