The word ‘Supari’ comes as a crime catch word for killing somebody for money. This is a process where criminals work with a procedure to complete the assigned task.

What is the origin of the word supari that has gone from being the humble areca nut more popularly used in pan to becoming the code word to order a hit job or discredit the media?

What is the origin of the word ‘supari’ as used by the underworld?

Supari or the areca nut is more popularly known as the betel nut as it is used with betel leaves to make pan. However, over a period of times it has been used by the underworld to indicate a contract given to a person to kill someone else in exchange for money. Over the past few years, it has not been restricted to giving a contract to kill someone but also to damage the reputation of another person.

How did the word supari acquire these meanings over time?

There are several theories about the reason why supari went on to acquire these threatening undertones. As per retired ACP Vasant Dhoble, who joined the force in the mid 70’s, it has more to do with the tradition in rural Maharashtra in earlier times of inviting people to marriage with a pan and supari instead of wedding cards to invite them to a wedding. Later it was also used to give a token to someone for carrying out some work like building a house – kamachi supari aali ahey (we have got the contract for work).

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He  said that around that time, a majority of cops in Mumbai came from rural areas who then brought this word with them. They used phrases like ‘uska supari isne diya’ (he gave the contract to kill the other person) and eventually when the underworld was at its peak, this was used by them.

As per S Hussain Zaidi’s book Dongri to Dubai, ‘supari’ came from Bhim, who was the king of Mahim province in Mumbai. According to Zaidi, Bhim, who was the chief of the Mahemi tribe, had an interesting ritual. Whenever he had to assign a difficult task, he would call a meeting of warriors at his Mahim fort, where, after giving them a sumptuous feast, a plate containing a betel leaf would be placed in the middle of the gathering and the man who picked the leaf was entrusted with a difficult task.

How does supari killing work in the underworld?

In the Mumbai of the 80’s and 90’s where supari killings were rampant, it was believed that a person who wanted his rival eliminated would give a supari to an underworld gang. The price of the supari would depend upon the nature of the target and the ramifications of the hit. Usually, the money was paid in instalments with the final amount being paid ‘after the job was done’.

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In most cases, the person giving the supari would also provide details about the whereabouts of the person and the best possible time and place for the attack. Those entrusted with carrying out the supari would keep an eye out on the target for a few days before carrying out the execution. The killers would then go underground. In the 90’s there were also allegations that some cops who had developed affinities with either the Dawood Ibrahim gang or the Chhota Rajan gang – the two major gangs that ruled Mumbai – would bump off members of the rival gang as well.

When did supari killings begin and what were some of the biggest supari killings?

As per Hussain Zaidi’s book, one of the first contract killings was ordered by gangster Haji Mastan in 1969, when he ordered a hit on gangster Yusuf Patel by paying two Pakistanis a sum of Rs 10000. The attempt was however foiled by the bodyguards.

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As per late journalist J Dey’s book ‘Khallas’, another sensational killing that established Dawood Ibrahim was when he gave a contract to Bada Rajan to eliminate Pathan Amirzada – from the rival and more powerful Pathan gang – who killed Dawood’s brother Shabbir in February 1983. Eventually, the contract was given to a youngster, David Pardeshi, who shot Amirzada dead inside the Mumbai Sessions court on September 6, 1983 for Rs 50,000.

One of the major supari killings was that of music baron Gulshan Kumar who had been shot dead on August 12, 1997 outside a temple in Andheri. As per police, the plot to bump him off was hatched in Dubai by Dawood’s brother Anees Ibrahim and Rs 25 lakh had been paid to the killers.

‘Matka king’ Suresh Bhagat was killed along with five others in 2008 when his vehicle was run over by a truck. Police investigation found that his wife Jaya Bhagat had given the contract for Rs 25 lakh as she wanted to take over his empire. #KhabarLive #hydnews