By Sushil Kutty
Nirav Modi – Baby Face Nirav! He reminds us of the American gangster of the 1930s, Public Enemy No.1 ‘Baby Face Nelson’. Both small guys with big dreams, banks their weakness. George ‘Baby Face’ Nelson robbed banks with loaded guns. ‘Baby Face Nirav’ fraudulently unloaded cash from banks with loaded Letters of Undertakings.
George ‘Baby Face Nelson’ was a short fella like ‘Baby Face Nirav’. Born on December 6, 1908, Lester Joseph Gillis, his real moniker, went to no school that anyone can remember of. Unlike ‘Baby Face Nirav’, there was no Wharton Business School in Baby Face Nelson’s resume.
Nirav Modi, born 1971 in diamond yard Antwerp, has a deceptively ‘Baby Face’ with his almost bald pate and slow smile. He was a Wharton Business School dropout. As was President Donald J. Trump. They met once. The six-foot three Trump towering over the five-foot six ‘Baby Face Nirav’. It was a friendly towering over. If Trump had been there to try the same with short-fella George ‘Baby Face Nelson’, there would have been a reckoning, with Baby Face Nelson’s .45 doing the talking – in short bursts.
At age 7, Lester Joseph Gillis accidently shot a playmate in the jaw with a pistol he found. Thus, began his fatal love with the gun. He spent a year in the Illinois State reformatory. At 13, he was arrested a second time. At 15, he was gang leader. At 20, he married his sweetheart Helen Wawzynak. They met – he liked her wit. She his grin and cheek!
‘Baby Face Nirav’ met sweetheart Ami in Wharton in Pennsylvania. He quit school and went into business. She stuck on and waited. They finally tied the knot and have three children to show for the effort. George ‘Baby Face Nelson’ and Helen Gillis had two – a boy and a girl.
‘Baby Face Nelson’ was a cherub – a winged-angelic, but not in the company of gods. This baby was wholly destined for hell. His baby-face and youthful appearance fetched Lester the nickname ‘Baby Face Nelson’. But, nobody called Lester ‘Baby Face Nelson’ to his face! Gang members called him ‘Jimmy’. They lived the longer for that.
Still in his teens, ‘Baby Face Nelson’ knew exactly what he wanted to be. Sprung from prison by a gang boss to assassinate a rival, ‘Baby Face Nelson’ reneged. “I want to rob banks,” he told his liberator. The gang boss lacked the guts to beat the crap out of the short fella. That was too tall a task.
‘Baby Face Nirav’ had an unremarkable childhood. But he was born with a diamond in his fist. His family dealt in diamonds, pretty much good reason to latch on to the sparkling rocks for forever. Then, in time, ‘Nirav Modi’ diamond-crusted jewels were selling like hotcakes, and willowy models were towering over ‘Baby Face Nirav’.
George ‘Baby Face Nelson’ on the other hand was in a damned-fired hurry. By 15, he was running his own gang. By 20, he was robbing banks all over Middle America. Off and on he would strike off to California or drive into Texas. Wherever he went, from one bank robbery to another bank robbery, he carried his guns and his wife with him. Often his two children, too.
‘Baby Face Nelson’, if he had diamonds, he would have made a present of them to Helen. And if she had a gem, she would have named it ‘Baby Face Nelson’. After Bonnie & Clyde, there was only one gangster couple in the United States to bank on – ‘Baby Face Nelson’ and Helen Gillis.
Baby Face Nelson’ made enemies left, right and centre. He made it a habit to gun down FBI agents. And shoot dead bystanders. ‘Baby Face Nirav’, living at a different time and age, struck up friendships with greedy bank officials, and walked posh glitzy hotels with beautiful jewelled women.
George ‘Baby Face Nelson’ carried a born-again .45 he had struck a relationship with – the gun showered bullets like a Tommy. He liked it nothing better than to point it at FBI agents. ‘Baby Face Nirav’ used the pen and a password as weapons. Times they had a changed and even a mouse could crack bank vaults.
‘Baby Face Nelson’ raided banks in a clutch of American states – Illinois, California, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa… He was forever making daredevil escapades, shooting his way through police barricades and FBI ambushes, his wife Helen always at his side, carrying gun and water for him.
‘Baby Face Nirav’ robbed banks with a smile and fat commissions to willing bankers. He did not have to go from bank to bank. One Punjabi bank’s branch had more than enough loot to offer to the diamond merchant. And wife Ami was an able partner-in-crime. Allegedly even helping honey-trap bankers with a couple of the willowy models ‘Baby Face Nirav’ smiled on.
‘Baby Face Nirav’ is a globetrotter much like his namesake in the PMO. Last heard, ‘Baby Face Nirav’ was said to be in Dubai, where to set foot on, a new law says, you need a ‘good conduct certificate!’
‘Baby Face Nelson’ lived dangerous. Cornered he was not shy of barging into homes and holding startled families hostage. With a very light finger on the trigger, he didn’t have to try hard to convince he was Public Enemy No.1.
George ‘Baby Face Nelson’ met his Waterloo in what is called the Battle of Barrington. Challenged on a highway, outside Chicago, he stepped out of his car and took several bullets to his abdomen and shotgun pellets on his legs. But he kept walking, killing two FBI agents, standing over their prone bodies and pumping bullets into them, then using the dead agents’ car, he made his getaway with wife and cohort.
That evening of November 27, 1934, George ‘Baby Face Nelson’ breathed his last with Helen and cohort at his bedside. His body wrapped in a Native American (Red Indian) blanket was found by a telephone company employee the next morning. Helen later said she wrapped ‘Baby Face Nelson’ in the blanket because he “always hated being cold.”
Thus ended the life and times of George ‘Baby Face Nelson’…’The Baby Face Butcher…Who Lined ‘Em Up…Chopped ‘Em Down…And Terrorized A Nation –The Deadliest Killer of Them All!’ He was 26! From all indications, ‘Baby Face Nirav’ will live to a 100 unless he drowns in his sins, which at last count ran up to 15,0000000000… (IPA Service)