IT'S THE STORY of a Mumbai mob boss who murders, kidnaps and extorts his way to the top of organised crime in India, but Adhure Khawab is no Bollywood movie script - at least not yet. Written behind bars in the maximum-security wing of an Indian prison, Babloo Srivastava's semi-autobiographical novel was launched amid a blaze of publicity last month. Convicted of murder, bank robbery and kidnapping, 43-year-old Srivastava is serving a 14-year jail term in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. Publisher Satish Verma compares Srivastava to 2003 Booker Prize winner D. B. C. Pierre (aka Peter Finlay), a self-confessed drug addict and gambler who sold a friend's home and coolly pocketed the proceeds. 'But unlike Pierre, who indulged in petty crime, robbing friends and smoking hash, Srivastava is a blue-chip mafia boss,' Verma says. 'A top-notch professional criminal, he was one of India's most wanted men until his arrest 10 years ago.' 'Pierre's Vernon God Little bagged the Booker. But I'm sure Srivastava's novel is going to rewrite publishing history in a country of one billion-plus people.' Unbelievable as the hype may be, it isn't entirely misplaced. Srivastava is a household name in India, thanks to relentless media coverage of his crimes. Known as the King of Kidnappings, he masterminded a series of abductions and a nationwide extortion racket that earned him billions of rupees. Publisher Nai Sadi paid Srivastava a handsome 250,000 rupee ($43,000) advance on the book, which was written in seven months. The gangster looms large on the dustcover in his trademark dark glasses, a cigarette dangling from his lips, holding a revolver and a wad of banknotes. An English translation is expected by the middle of next year and there's talk of a feature film. Negotiations with a Bollywood producer are said to be under way. Srivastava comes from a respectable family - his father was a school principal, his elder brother a colonel in the army, and his six sisters are university graduates married to professionals. In this thinly veiled autobiography, Srivastava writes that he wanted to join the Indian Administrative Service, the elite civil service that runs the country 'But I couldn't resist the temptation of minting money. So I embraced the world of crime at the first opportunity. I'm the proverbial black sheep of my family.' And even now that he's in jail, Srivastava boasts that he continues to run his empire from behind bars, thanks to 'inexhaustible supplies of SIM cards'. Procuring wine and women - and even designer clothes and after-shave - is easy if you have money to bribe the corrupt prison guards, he writes. Written in Hindi, Adhure Khawab purports to tell the inside story of the crimes Srivastava and his gang committed, and claims to expose the links between police, politicians and criminals that plague India - although Srivastava stops short of naming his own political associates. The book has been recommended by a retired police chief as essential reading for police. Among other things, it offers tips to would-be kidnappers, including techniques for luring women and children, how to mislead police and how to successfully collect ransom money. Explaining the title, which means Unfulfilled Dreams, Srivastava says his chief mission remains to 'liquidate' his mentor and erstwhile boss, Dawood Ibrahim. Srivastava, a Hindu, claims he was recruited in the late 1980s by Ibrahim, a Muslim and then a Mumbai mafia don. Srivastava rose to become a trusted lieutenant. But in March 1993, Ibrahim fled to Dubai, after allegedly masterminding a series of bombings that killed 300 people in Mumbai. The attacks were said to have been in retaliation for the killings of Muslims in the city earlier that year. Indian authorities say Ibrahim acted with the aid of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence. According to Srivastava, the blasts split India's underworld along sectarian lines. Hindu criminals, Srivastava among them, vowed to murder Ibrahim. When India signed an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates, Ibrahim moved his operations to Pakistan. All further attempts to bring him to trial in India have failed. In his book, Srivastava also offers a detailed account of how his men stalked and gunned down a Nepali politician, Dilshad Beg - with the aid, he claims, of the Indian intelligence service. Beg, a Muslim with links to Ibrahim, was killed in broad daylight near the India-Nepal border. Srivastava's editor, Shailab Rawat, didn't have an easy job of it. 'I had to work hard on the manuscript,' he says. 'But he fared well as a first-time writer. His style is direct. He doesn't beat around the bush. He doesn't waste the reader's time.' To the dismay of many, a judge granted Srivastava a two-hour parole to attend the book launch, despite objections by the public prosecutor. But his literary flight was cut short when a helicopter that was to take him to the launch was grounded by bad weather. The launch went ahead without him - which Verma described as like 'staging Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark'.