Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) managed to get Mumbai gangster Chhota Rajan deported from Indonesia on Friday but it has been a long wait.
The agency had come close to laying its hands on him 15 years earlier.
Thailand had confirmed to Indian agencies that an Indian, initially identified as ‘Vijay Kadam’, who had been rescued by the Bangkok police from a first-floor apartment after a shootout on 14 September 2000, was Chhota Rajan.
But Chhota Rajan managed to flee from the hospital after CBI initiated the process to get him deported.
“Documents had been exchanged to confirm Rajan’s identity and we had started the process to get him extradited or deported,” a CBI officer recalled. Soon after, the Thai authorities got back to the CBI to inform that he had managed to escape from the hospital where he was undergoing treatment.
The attack on Rajan was part of a series of tit-for-tat reprisal attacks he and his former mentor, Dawood Ibrahim, orchestrated to target each other after they parted ways. Rajan had jumped off the balcony attached to his bedroom to escape the attackers. His aide Rohit Verma was killed and his wife Sangeeta injured. After they left, Rajan called up the police and was taken to the hospital.
But he escaped from the multi-storeyed hospital too with alleged help from his associate, Santosh Shetty, along with another aide, Bharat Nepali. They used mountaineering gear including pulleys and ropes to help him climb down.
This was the CBI’s first case against Rajan registered nearly two years later, in 2002. He was booked on a charge of fraudulently obtaining the passport in the name of Vijay Kadam.
Incidentally when the CBI formally arrested the man wanted in over 80 criminal cases on Friday, it was only for passport fraud. This time, it was for a passport issued in the name of Mohan Kumar in 2003 in India, around the same time when Rajan was based in Zimbabwe.
“CBI will send Letters Rogatory to Zimbabwe and Australia to get evidence in this case,” a CBI officer said. Rajan was caught by Indonesian authorities when he reached Bali to resolve some issues that his network had been facing in South East Asia.