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24 April 2024

Bollywood unearths scam that rocked India: ‘Special Chabbis’ in Dubai

Bollywood cast of 'Special Chabbis’ Akshay Kumar, Kajal Agarwal, Manoj Bajpai and Anupam Kher during a promotional tour in India. (TWITTER)

By Bindu Suresh Rai

Almost 25 years ago, a daring heist rocked the Mumbai jewellery industry to its very foundations and remains one of the most legendary unsolved cases that continues to be a thorn in the side of Indian officials even today.
A story that has almost morphed into an urban legend of sorts is finally making it reel life from real, with ‘Special Chabbis’ ready to hit screens this Wednesday when it holds in world premiere in Dubai.
Attending the mega event will be Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher and Kajal Aggrawal, while it is yet to be confirmed whether the film’s other lead stars, Manoj Bajpai and Jimmy Shergill will be walking the red carpet.
Organised by Dream Advertising and Ministry of Events, the venue for the premiere on February 6 will be announced closer to the date, even as India’s Central Bureau of Intelligence has issued a formal request to watch the screening of the film to ensure the government agency has not been presented in bad light.
Keeping with the theme of the film, the star cast will first invade a leading Jewellery store here in UAE before attending the red carpet event at 7pm to meet and greet fans.
The evening will be followed by a private dinner event, which fans can win tickets for over radio promotions.
Directed by Neeraj Pandey (‘A Wednesday’) and produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, ‘Special Chabbis’, sees Kumar essay the role of the chief mastermind who ropes in a team of 25 recruits posing as income tax officials raided a famous jewellery store in Mumbai’s Opera House district.
Meanwhile, Bajpai plays a CBI official on the chase.
The movie goes on general release on Thursday in the UAE.
Hair-raising heist
The controversy surrounding the film remains a sore point for the investigators and the famous Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri jewellery store, which was robbed of Rs3.5 million worth of precious ornaments and cash when a conman entered the premises that fateful afternoon of March 19, 1987, pretending to be a CBI officer who was conducting a raid on the store.
It is alleged that the mastermind, who went by the name Mon Singh, walked right up to the owner, Pratapbhai Zevari, introduced himself as Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) officer, before submitting a search warrant.
Over the next 45 minutes, close-circuit cameras were forcibly shut down, no phone calls were permitted and the owner was ordered to surrender his licensed gun, while a board was put up in the window stating that a CBI raid was underway investigating the quality of gold sold in such shops.
Samples of jewellery were sealed in packets and placed on a waiting bus, which Singh made away with, only for the rest of the recruits to realise later they were all conned.
Till date, the case continues to baffle investigators, with the only certainty emerging that Singh had booked a room at the The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower on March 17.