India’s most wanted gangster Chhota Rajan has been arrested in the Indonesian resort island of Bali on a tip-off from Australian Federal Police, ending a 28-year-old global manhunt.
Ever since the Modi government came to power last summer, the Indian security establishment has acquired a new vigour in hunting India’s enemy number one — Dawood Ibrahim. His associate-turned-arch-rival Chhota Rajan was expected to play a part in the hunt that was expected to partly define Modi government’s security posture.
Rajan’s arrest has sparked a buzz in security circles because of long-running rumours about his connections to India’s intelligence services, who hoped to use him to target the other most-wanted gangster Dawood Ibrahim.
Government sources confirmed that the CBI had received a query from Australia four days back on whether the agency had any red corner notice against him. It was during the verification process that Australian authorities came to know that he was a wanted criminal in India.
Sources said Rajan has been keeping ill for close to five years now and that his health has deteriorated. With most of his trusted men either killed or behind bars, and Dawood Ibrahim’s henchmen consistently on his tail to kill him, his fortunes were on a downslide.
Wanted in around 20 cases — murder and other charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), attempt to murder and cause grievous hurt under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Arms Act — the Mumbai Police is a major stakeholder in the Rajan case.
Rajan was first groomed as a gangster by former Mumbai underworld don Rajan Nair. After Nair’s death in a shootout in a local court, Rajan came in contact with Ibrahim in the mid-eighties and rose to become number two in the gang. However, the two split up after the 1993 blasts with Rajan positioning himself as the “patriotic don”.
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