The flux in Mumbai’s underworld would be significant if Chhota Rajan is to be extradited or deported back to India. It could spark another round of fireworks in the now subdued underworld as experts believe the arrest could have been orchestrated by Rajan himself to recruit fresh foot soldiers for his crumbling gang.
Mumbai Police believe that Rajan wants to come back to the city to take control of the gang as no one currently is capable of handling it. “Rajan has good penetrations in many areas in the eastern suburbs and also enjoys good support in many Hindu and Dalit pockets; his return could change many equations,” said another IPS officer.
But former Mumbai police commissioner MN Singh said, “Chhota Rajan now is an old and sick man, who has been leading a nomadic life, running from pillar to post to survive. It could well be an arrangement by him so that he could spend a peaceful time in jail.”
It is well known that Dawood Ibrahim and Shakeel have been after Rajan’s life although there has been a lull after the 2000 Bangkok attack. Rajan being brought to Mumbai could set off another round of gang war.
Rajan’s return could work well for him, opined Singh, before exercising a word of caution. “If this is an arrangement by Rajan, Mumbai police would get his custody. But if this is not, then we would have to wait and see,” said Singh.
V Balachandran, former special secretary, cabinet secretariat, said that Rajan’s gang would weaken if he is brought to Mumbai. “Heads of rival gangs would be happy to see him behind bars,” he said. Balachandran added that getting Rajan from Indonesia, a country which does not have an extradition treaty with India, would not be a big problem. “There were other ways to get him to Mumbai,” said Balachandran.
A senior IPS official said, “One thing India would have to guard against is Rajan’s clout in Indonesia and countries around it, where he has several legitimate businesses. Even in the past, he has used his clout to escape.”