Chhota Rajan coming to India on Friday; all cases handed to CBI

Mumbai/New Delhi: Long-absconding mafia don Rajendra Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan will be brought to India from Indonesia early on Friday and all cases against him shall now be investigated by the CBI, officials said on Thursday.

Maharashtra’s Additional Chief Secretary K.P. Bakshi told media persons in Mumbai that Rajan, who was arrested by Indonesian police on October 26, was escorted amidst tight security to the Bali airport for a flight to India, which is scheduled to land in New Delhi around 4 a.m. on Friday.

In a surprise development, he said all cases pending against the mafia don will be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which will now probe them.

“The CBI is the nodal agency and many cases have all-India ramifications. Maharashtra will transfer all cases to the CBI and we shall offer them all help,” Bakshi said.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed has said Chhota Rajan is wanted in 70-75 cases of murder, kidnappings, extortion, arms running.

At an event at the Mumbai Press Club, Javed said police would prioritise the case of the killing of journalist Jyotirmoy Dey on June 11, 2011, among others.

However, Rajan himself informed TV channel Times Now prior to his departure from Bali that he had no hand in Dey’s killing.

A special aircraft carrying Rajan, a team of CBI officials and others departed around 8 p.m. local time from Bali, Indonesia and is expected to reach New Delhi around 4 a.m. on Friday.

Earlier, he was scheduled to be brought to India on Tuesday, but the plan was delayed on account of a volcanic eruption which led to closure of the Bali airport and cancellation of all flights.

Rajan, 55, also said he was “happy to return to India, which is his motherland”, and denied he ever demanded not to be taken to Mumbai.

The mafia don declined to comment on how he would “help” the Indian government, but reiterated that he would oppose his erstwhile partner in crime, absconder don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, presently believed to be hiding in Pakistan.

Three days ago, Rajan had alleged that Mumbai Police committed atrocities on him and that some officials were linked to Dawood Ibrahim – a charge which was promptly denied by Javed.

Rajan and Dawood were close until differences cropped up after the March 12, 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.

Rajan slipped out of the country in 1996 and has been on India’s most-wanted list for the past nearly 20 years till his arrest last month.

While absconding, he was targeted in a murderous attack in Bangkok, Thailand by Dawood’s henchmen in September 2000, but he managed to escape.

Rajan’s arrest is billed as the biggest victory for Indian law enforcers after the nabbing of another mafia don, Abu Salem Ansari, in Portugal in September 2002 and later his deportation in November 2005.

Meanwhile in Delhi, sources told IANS that Rajan was on Thursday evening deported from Bali in a special aircraft carrying a team of six Indian officials, including two officials of Delhi Police and officials of CBI and Mumbai Police.

Rajan was escorted to Bali airport from Denpasar police station in a bullet-proof vehicle.

“Considering Chhota Rajan’s earlier demand of deporting him to Delhi instead of Mumbai, and due to some other reasons, the Indian government took the decision on Wednesday at a high-level meeting to bring him to Delhi first,” an official in the CBI told IANS on condition of anonymity.

The official said Rajan would be kept under CBI custody for the first two days and later would either be handed over to Delhi or Mumbai Police on the directions of the central government.

Delhi Police has six cases against Rajan’s alleged associates, registered at the Rajouri Garden and C.R. Park police stations, sources said.

“The Special Cell of Delhi Police has already sought permission from the home ministry to question Rajan,” said a Delhi Police official on condition of anonymity.

“The gangster is wanted in the capital in cases registered between 1999 and 2011.

“Most of them are related to extortion from Delhi businessmen, directly or indirectly on the alleged instructions of the underworld don. Now the cases are being handled by the Special Cell,” the official said.

Five alleged shooters of Rajan’s gang were arrested in a raid at a flat in Subhash Nagar near Rajouri Garden in 1999.