Australian police confirmed fugitive gangster Chhota Rajan’s presence to the CBI and Interpol last month and provided specific details regarding his whereabouts as well as cover identity, but no action was taken to nab him then, officials from the island nation told HT.
The disclosure from Australian Federal Police (AFP) came days after Indonesian authorities arrested Rajan, wanted in India for around 75 cases of murder, extortion and arms smuggling.
“An Interpol Red Notice has been issued by Indian authorities for Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje. In September 2015, the AFP confirmed that Nikalje was residing in Australia under another identity, and subsequently advised Indian authorities and the Interpol Secretariat General,” an AFP spokesperson told HT in response to a questionnaire.
“On 25 October, 2015, Niklaje departed from Australia to Indonesia. Interpol Canberra then advised Interpol Secretariat General, Interpol Jakarta and Interpol New Delhi.”
HT tried to get reactions from CBI director Anil Sinha and spokesperson Devpreet Singh on the AFP’s claims and find out why the Indian agency did not act immediately on the intelligence provided in September and why the eventual arrest of Rajan, who was travelling under the name “Mohan Kumar”, took place in Bali and not Australia.
While Sinha did not respond, Singh merely said, “Necessary documents are under preparation and further action will be taken judiciously to bring back Chhota Rajan.”
According to Indonesian enforcement authorities, AFP provided precise information that led to Rajan’s arrest, including his passport number (G9273860), flight details (Garuda Indonesia flight GA715) and likely duration of stay in Bali (15 days).
A senior security official, who is familiar with the process of bringing back the fugitive, told HT, “The Australians certainly knew his whereabouts by early September. In fact, Australian police were keeping watch on Rajan since May -June.”
“It could be that the Australians did not want the arrest to happen in their country as it could have led to fights between the Chhota Rajan and Dawood Ibrahim gangs and international intelligence operations over there.”