A CBI-led team from India is likely to reach Bali, Indonesia by Thursday to begin the process of bringing back via deportation Mumbai’s mafia don Chhota Rajan alias ‘Nana’ after his arrest on Sunday by local authorities on his arrival from Sydney by flight.
“In such cases, it is the central government that will constitute a team of officials that may include those from CBI, the Mumbai police and central intelligence agencies,” said a CBI source. The source said the agency’s team will leave for Bali in the “next two days”. He said, “Due to the sensitive nature of the diplomatic process and the fact that Rajan is a high- profile accused and faces threat to his life, the agency will disclose exact details when it is correct to do so.” He said, “Everything will be done as per law.”
Two days after Rajan’s arrest, however, the incident has set off a burgeoning political row over whether his capture was a professional work based on specific intelligence inputs from Australian and Indian agencies or he allegedly ‘surrendered’, in the face of poor health and threats from globe-trotting kill-teams sent after him by rivals, fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar alias ‘Muchchad’ and his top lieutenant Shakeel Ahmad Babumian alias ‘Chhota Shakeel’. “Rajnath Singh was even not aware of the arrest of underworld don Chhota Rajan in Indonesia yesterday,” claimed Congress’s general secretary Digvijay Singh on Tuesday referring to the union home minister.
Singh claimed that the way the whole thing panned out, there was a lingering suspicion that the arrest was actually surrender. “Some sort of understanding appears to have been reached,” Singh said.
Former IPS officer KP Raghuvanshi, who retired as DG (Director General), Maharashtra police early this year and had twice headed the state’s Anti –Terrorism Squad, told HT, “The way Rajan was nabbed indicates that there could have been some sort of arrangement with the central intelligence agencies to turn himself over. As a gang-leader, he seems to have weakened over the last few years and has not been keeping well even as he faces threats from the Dawood gang.”
Raghuvanshi said, “It may be convenient for Rajan to stay inside a jail now.” Echoing his views a former CBI director, who requested anonymity, told HT, “Ask the central intelligence agencies how he got arrested? It is highly unlikely a man like Rajan will get trapped without the knowledge of central agencies.”
When HT asked minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday about the issue, he refused to confirm or deny anything. “You will get to know on your own later,” he said. “We are exploring all provisions of law and bilateral agreement between India and Indonesia,” said Rijiju.
Rajan’s likely return and interrogation, however, is set to equip Indian enforcement agencies with “critical information” in their fight to neutralise the activities of underworld networks belonging to his own gang, of the rival Dawood Ibrahim gang and its alleged sponsors in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. His information may also help the authorities zero in on his alleged “political patrons and sponsors,” said a senior counter-underworld officer. “As a ganglord, some might say that Rajan has lost some his capabilities and is a spent force. But for over two decades he has been controlling the activities of his gang and that of the Dawood gang earlier, before they split up after the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, so Rajan can of course provide critical information to lead a crackdown,” said Raghuvanshi.