S. Hussain Zaidi is a veteran investigative journalist and is regarded to be one of the most versatile professionals in his métier. Zaidi is known to be one of the best crime reporters in the business, a best-selling non-fiction author par excellence, a budding Bollywood scriptwriter and a specialist in writing on crime, especially the Mumbai mafia and terrorism.
Noted film director Sanjay Gupta, who is regarded as India’s answer to Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese, has dubbed Zaidi as the Crime God.
Zaidi has worked in several leading publications in his career, and his path breaking stories are usually regarded as a sort of benchmark in crime reporting. His work has even been included in syllabi in relevant courses across colleges in India.
Zaidi worked briefly as a reporter with The Asian Age in 1995 before joining Indian Express in Mumbai, where his trailblazing stories soon elevated him to the status of one of the finest crime reporters in India. In this period, his stories exposed a High Court’s Chief Justice, a religious head who misused funds to the tune of Rs 400 crore meant for charity, and several other scamsters. An interview with gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli, who spoke to him from within the confines of the Harsul Jail in Aurangabad, was also a path breaking article. Other notable articles that made headlines and created uproar among the masses include the story of an eleven year old who was saved from prostitution, the commissioner of the Mumbai police exhorting the public to arm themselves with hockey sticks to ward off extortionists.
Zaidi also secured an interview with Dawood Ibrahim, which was the last published interview of the don.
Zaidi left Indian Express to be a part of the dot-com boom in 2000. He was managing editor of eIndia.com,but returned to the print medium after the dot-com crash of 2001. He joined Mid-Day in 2001, where he continued to do breaking stories. His notable exposés here include that of a lecherous deputy commissioner of police who was sexually harassing women cops, a transcript involving the then home minister Chhagan Bhujbal in the Telgi scam, and that of how Karachi-based ganglord Chhota Shakeel began using women to manage his gang affairs in Mumbai.
In 2005, Zaidi quit Mid-Day to join the Mumbai Mirror team with Meenal Baghel as Editor, Special Investigations. Mumbai Mirror launched on May 31, 2005 with Hussain’s lead story on Ajitabh Bachchan threatening to write a tell-all book on his famous brother Amitabh Bachchan. Zaidi continued doing breaking stories at the same time as managing the investigations team, writing about an infant-selling racket in Mumbai, and how ganglord Abu Salem was lording it in Arthur Road Jail with 5-star treatment, among several other investigative stories.
Zaidi returned to Indian Express as Senior Editor in 2006 where he was in charge of the Mumbai news team. Between his managerial responsibilities, he wrote stories on a jihadi who was a big fan of a bar-girl, and of how the MI6 and CIA were better at maintaining a dossier of Indian terrorists who were active in their machinations against India. Zaidi also did a heart-wrenching story of a young man who was picked up for eve-teasing and loitering and lodged at the Thane Mental Hospital for 50 years.
In 2008, he joined The Asian Age as Resident Editor of the Mumbai Bureau, and was with the paper until November 2011. He left the organisation after protesting against the treatment meted out to the deputy bureau chief of Asian Age, Jigna Vora, by the organisation (Deccan Chronicle), which refused to stand by her. Vora was one of The Asian Age’s finest investigative journalists nurtured and encouraged personally by Zaidi. She was arrested by the Mumbai police’s crime branch on the charge of murdering fellow reporter Jyotirmoy Dey, an allegation that Zaidi has maintained was fabricated by the police. As editor, he stood by Jigna and his friendship with Dey: “Jyotirmoy Dey was more than my friend. I introduced him to crime reporting and I was instrumental in him getting to write books. I know for a fact that Jigna Vora held him in high esteem.”
About J Dey.
About Jigna Vora.