Bullet-proof car, crack commandos -- the security for crime boss Chhota Rajan on his arrival in Delhi on Friday morning was unprecedented, with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) apprehending threat to his life from rivals including the Dawood Ibrahim gang.
Soon after he arrived from Indonesia in a chartered aircraft, the security team whisked away Rajan from Palam’s air force station to the CBI’s headquarters in south Delhi in a bulletproof car. The team used secrecy and deception to transport the ‘high-value’ accused, who faces more than 80 criminal cases including around 20 murders.
Rajan’s uniformed minders did not let him speak to reporters, who had kept vigil around the Palam airforce station’s exit gates since around 2.45am. A source in the special cell told Hindustan Times that immediately after de-boarding the aircraft, a visibly emotional Rajan knelt down at the tarmac and kissed the ground.
The white Ambassador car with black tinted glasses hurtled out of the wide metal gates of the airport’s technical area at around 5.48am, minutes after the arrival of the aircraft which had left Bali’s Ngurah Rai international airport around 7.45pm the previous night.
The car was at the centre of a seven-strong cavalcade that kept a brisk pace over a 10-km journey, from the airport to the CBI headquarters. At the front and rear were SUVs and cars carrying commandos in their camouflage green dungarees. They sat erect, sharply watching those assembled at the airport, their fingers on the triggers of their AK-47 assault rifles.
There were also officials from the Delhi Police special cell and the Union home ministry. The special cell deployed some of its best officers -- DCP Sanjeev Yadav and inspectors LM Negi and Hriday Bhushan -- who have over the years earned a distinction in cracking terror and organised crime networks. The cell had a few years ago busted terror outfit Indian Mujahideen’s so-called ‘Darbhanga-based’ module that allegedly orchestrated blasts in Mumbai and Pune.
The security team also kept ready an alternate route, which led to an alternate detention centre at the special cell’s Lodhi Road office-cum-detention complex.
The cars carrying reporters and camerapersons followed Rajan’s cavalcade at an even pace. At 6.05am, when Rajan was brought to the CBI headquarters there was still confusion among media persons, since some of them were under the impression that he was being taken to the special cell’s Lodhi Road office.
The roads around the agency’s headquarters were barricaded, with armed security men inside and outside the campus, virtually turning it into a fortress.
Rajan had fled the country for Dubai in 1988 to escape the law after allegedly committing several crimes including murders. Indian law agencies caught up with him after 27 years, however.
CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh told HT, “Chhota Rajan has arrived in Delhi after getting deported from Indonesia. He is now with us, in our custody.”
The agency, meanwhile, is considering the option of using video-conferencing to produce him before a metropolitan magistrate’s court within the stipulated 24 hours.