|Born||March 1 1926
Tuticorin, Madras Presidency, British India
|Died||2 January 1988
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Varadarajan Mudaliar (1926 – 2 January 1988), also known as Vardha Bhai, was an Indian gangster. He was born in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu. 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 controlled all the criminal activities in his strongholds of Dharavi, Mahim, Matunga, Sion-Koliwada and Chunnabhatti extending upto Chembur and Ghatkopar. He ran an almost parallel judicial system for the south indian community in these areas until police inspector Y.C. Pawar cracked down upon him causing him to abandon his underworld empire and flee from Mumbai to Tamil Nadu.
Varadarajan was born in Tuticorin, Madras Presidency in 1926 to a union leader who was shot to death by the police. He moved to Bombay in 1945. Working as a porter at VT Station, he began his crime life by stealing dock cargo. Varada, as he was fondly called, was hugely popular among the poor south Indian residents in the Dharavi slums. He used the massive Dharavi slums as a safe haven to expand his criminal activities into a massive underworld empire of extortion, kidnapping, contract killing, illegal land encroachment, running illegal gambling and liquor dens, manufacturing illicit liquor and bootlegging. Varada had total control over the distribution racket of illicit liquor. His men used to fill rubber tubes of tyres with illicit liquor and leave them by the roadside to be collected by the truck drivers for transporting to other areas. His men used to also transport liquor barrels in taxis whose rear seats were removed for extra space for the barrels. It is said[by whom?] that Varada started the arrangement of giving fixed monthly kickbacks to the police in his areas in return for a free run in his crime activities. In the early 1980s, after Haji Mastan gave up his smuggling operations and Karim Lala's Pathan gang was weakened by a split between Samad Khan and Dawood Ibrahim, Varadarajan emerged as the strongest gang leader. He extended his sway over north central suburbs of Chembur, Tilaknagar and Ghatkopar by lending patronage to south indian gangsters like Bada Rajan and Sadhu Shetty.
Varadarajan ran a parallel judicial system within the South Indian community in his strongholds.
Starting the 1980s, police officer Y.C. Pawar targeted Varadarajan Mudaliar. Most of his gang members were eliminated or imprisoned. His illegal gambling and liquor dens were closed down and finally by the end of 1983, Varadarajan was forced to abandon his underworld empire and flee from Mumbai to Tamil Nadu.
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 of a heart attack in Chennai on 2 January 1988. 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. Varadarajan's dear friend, Selva, was with him throughout his adult life till his death..
In popular culture
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- | url=http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/When-Tamil-dons-ruled-Bombay/articleshow/49623540.cms%7C title=When Tamil Dons ruled Bombay | work=The Times of India | date=2 November 2015 | accessdate=11 November 2016 |
- 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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