Sunday Anchor

Rajan a big catch?

Picture shows Indonesian policemen with Chhota Rajan.   | Photo Credit: ANTARA FOTO

The > arrest of underworld don Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje alias Chhota Rajan is being seen as one of the biggest achievements of the National Democratic Alliance government, but there are concerns within the establishment on the utility of the information that could be retrieved from the alleged gangster when he arrives in India.

A senior Home Ministry official claimed that Rajan was a “spent force” and has, for the past six years, become a burden for the intelligence agencies as the “tip-offs” provided by him led them nowhere. An official described his arrest as being of “no consequence”.

“He still has a well-established network, but since 2009, we were not getting any substantial information from him. All the information provided by him about the activities of rival gangs turned out to be bogus,” the official said. It is a known fact that Rajan was used by intelligence agencies to get information about the rival gang network.

A former intelligence officer who tracked >Rajan’s activities during the latter’s heydays in the 1990s said unlike his rival Dawood Ibrahim, Rajan was only into “extortion and property disputes.” The official said, “Dawood Ibrahim is into narcotics trade as well as circulation of counterfeit Indian currency notes, but Rajan mostly peddled in extortion and mediated in property disputes.”

A feat for the country

Officials said once Rajan is brought back to India and subjected to detailed interrogation, they will have to “sieve” through the information provided by him. “Much of the information that could be provided by him might be outdated, but he might prove to be a key to the unidentified men in the underworld nexus. There are people who we have no information about; Rajan could be of help in that,” said the official.

Minister of State (Home Affairs) Kiren Rijiju told The Hindu that the arrest of Rajan should not be seen from a narrow view. “He is a big catch for intelligence agencies and any debate of him being a spent force defeats the entire process. His arrest was a result of coordination between India and international agencies, and it’s a big feat for the country,” said Mr. Rijiju.

A source in the security establishment said Rajan’s arrest was not an accidental one, as they had been closely monitoring his activities for the past few months. “We were in the know of each of his movements. We were waiting for the right opportunity to nab him. When he landed in Indonesia, we got the opportunity,” said the source.

Rajan was travelling as Kumar Mohan from Sydney when he was arrested at Bali airport last week.

Rajan has as many as 60 cases registered against him in various parts of India, with about 50 in Mumbai alone.

Another official said that a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team was in the process of leaving for Indonesia to get Rajan back to India. “We do not have an extradition treaty with Indonesia, but that should not come in the way of getting Rajan back to India. He will be deported from that country as he was arrested on basis of an Interpol red corner notice against him. Our team will go with all the requisite documents and proof,” said the official.

A six-member team comprising CBI and Mumbai Police > officials has been readied to travel to Indonesia. The Prime Minister's Office is monitoring Rajan’s deportation on an hourly basis, said an official. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval recently convened a high-level meet to arrange for Rajan’s deportation. “Most probably he will be brought back to India on a commercial flight. There are no plans to send a special aircraft to bring him here. Though there are perceived threats to his life from the D-company, we will take care of it,” said the official.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 2:48:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sunday-anchor/chhota-rajan-a-big-catch/article7828086.ece

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