3AW's Derryn Hinch returned from his two week break today and opened his program with an editorial attacking the celebrity status attained by Melbourne underworld figures. Those who he attacked included Mick Gatto, who happened to be listening and was quick to jump on the phone and return fire.

"You are scum, and I tell you what, I have a punching bag at home with your name on it and I punch the shit out of it," Gatto told Hinch.

Hinch hit back.

"If burning you is my job in life, I'll be more than happy to do it. I think you and all your ilk and all your mob and the Carlton Crew and the Carl Williamses of this world, you are all scum."

The verbal jousting lasted several minutes and included this exchange:

Gatto: "It's ratbags like you that sort of put me in the limelight, where I want to be left alone and mind my own businesses but I can't because I've got maggots like you driving me mad".

Hinch: "Do you know what? If I could go to my grave being called a maggot by a person like Mick Gatto, boy I'm proud of myself".

Gatto: "Well, I hope you go to your grave very quick, mate".

Hinch: "Yeah?"

Gatto: "That's where you deserve to be because you are a maggot".

Hinch: "You live in that world where people go to their graves. You ... you ... you live in that world where people go to their graves quickly. Don't you?"

Gatto: "Well, you'll be one of them. You'll be one of them very soon, mate".

Hinch last year admitted he was suffering a life-threatening condition, advanced cirrhosis of the liver, combined with a benign liver tumour.

Gatto, who describes himself as an industrial negotiator, was acquitted on a charge of murder following the death of underworld henchman Andrew "Benji" Veniamin at the back of a Carlton restaurant on March 23, 2004.

Gatto admitted shooting Veniamin but successfully argued his death was self-defence. Audio: Mick Gatto phones a 'friend'