Underworld don Chhota Rajan, a former key aide of fugitive Dawood Ibrahim, has been arrested in the Indonesian province of Bali, CBI director Ranjit Sinha confirmed on Monday.
Earlier, Bali police spokesman Heri Wiyanto had said that Indonesia authorities had detained Chhota after he arrived in the popular resort island of Bali from Sydney on Sunday.
Wiyanto added, 55-year-old Rajan, whose real name is Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, had been on the crime run for two decades. Rajan had been living in Australia under a different identity.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “India was active on this case, post verification investigation will be taken forward.”
“I want to thank Interpol and Indonesian Govt for this,” Singh said, “It is official. We have captured Chhota Rajan. The identification process is on.”
Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, said, “There is a close coordination between India, Australia and Indonesia in this matter.”
He added, “CBI is the nodal agency for Interpol in India. Now further process will be taken forward by CBI.”
Rajan, boss of a major crime syndicate based in India, was arrested on Sunday with the help of Interpol. He had been on the run for two decades. The Interpol flagged him as a wanted man back in 1995.
Rajan began his crime career as a thief and a bootlegger under Rajan Nair, who was known as ‘Bada Rajan’. After the latter’s murder he became the head of Nair’s gang.
Rajan started operating from Mumbai’s Chembur area and surroundings in mid-1970s and later became a trusted henchman of Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, the absconding don from Mumbai who is reportedly hiding in Pakistan.
After Ibrahim’s masterminded string of bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993, where 257 people were killed, the two fell out.
Rajan slipped out of India in 1995.
Despite repeated attempts, top police, bureaucratic and political officials in Maharashtra maintained a guarded silence and declined to comment on the developments that have immediate and long-term implications for Mumbai’s underworld as well as the state’s law and order.
Earlier, for a couple of hours on Monday, confusion reigned in top intelligence and police circles in Maharashtra, with some officials claiming that another serial killer from Karnataka, Mohan Kumar alias Cyanide Mohan, had been arrested.
However, later, once the Indonesian police issued a photograph of Rajan with one of its policeman, and Rajanath Singh confirmed the arrest, all doubts were laid to rest.