Could run, couldn’t hide
According to Interpol, known gangsters, Chota Shakeel and Dawood Ibrahim had earlier this year made a “final plan” to murder their long time rival Nana, popularly known as Chotta Rajan. According to news reports, Rajan is the kingpin of one of India’s long-lasting crime syndicates known to indulge in murder, extortion, smuggling, and planned terrorism. Rajan, who was originally part of Dawood’s crime syndicate (known as the D-Company) quit his operations and fled in 1996 after the Mumbai bomb blasts. It happened after Rajan got suspicious about Dawood’s intentions. This marked the beginning of a series of gang wars and an iconic rivalry that is far from resolved. After various failures to eliminate Rajan, the gangster has finally been caught by the Indonesian police on Monday at Bali. Earlier in the day, the Indonesian police had reported that they had detained and arrested an Indian criminal who has been on the run for years. However, there was confusion initially regarding his identity, whether it is Chotta Rajan or the serial killer Mohan Kumar (also known as Cyanide Mohan, guilty of murdering 20 women). Finally, it was a photograph of the wanted criminal from the archives that was used to confirm the gangster’s identity. This operation was possible after the Indonesian Police were tipped about the gangster’s arrival to Bali by their Australian counterparts, who had failed to capture him.
Over time, Rajan is believed to have become an informant for India’s intelligence agencies, supplying inputs about Dawood’s men and their activities — consolidating his credentials as the “patriotic don”. It was in the year 2000 that Dawood’s men attacked Rajan at his home in Bangkok (led by Chhota Shakeel, members of Dawood’s gang in the guise of pizza delivery men), killing his trustee aide Rohit Varma. An injured Rajan was able to escape and soon hospitalised. With the help of an aide, he fled the hospital too, evading arrest. In the recent past, senior Mid-Day journalist J Dey was shot dead on June 11, 2011, allegedly at the behest of Rajan — who was reportedly upset with some of Dey’s articles about him. Despite an interview in 2014, the special MCOCA court in June this year, framed charges against Rajan and nine others in the murder of Dey. Rajan, who is now 55, had been on the run for over two decades. In April 2014, reports did the rounds that Rajan was critically ill in Singapore, suffering from kidney troubles, for which he had apparently been put on dialysis. Indian intelligence agencies have always been on a lookout for Dawood and his men. They earlier confirmed intercepts that there was a possible attempt on Rajan’s life.
If Indian authorities do take Rajan, and he is eventually presented before a court, some secrets regarding the underworld and terrorism outlaws will be revealed. That is something that time will decide. However, this happens to be a sharp edge as far as operations by various international police, and intelligence agencies are concerned. Rajan’s capture, however, could be one of the Indian establishment’s greatest achievement since the extradition and arrest of Abu Salem.