Mobster Chhota Rajan might be moving from Australia’s shores to the relative safety of an Indian prison, but the country’s security establishment believes his ruthless gangland rival Chhota Shakeel could arrange a hit on him here as well.
Shakeel has tried thrice to finish off the 55-year-old gangster and may try again when Rajan is deported to India from Bali where he was formally captured by Indonesian authorities on Sunday, said a senior government official who deals with intelligence matters.
“Shakeel was always envious of Rajan when both worked for the same boss — Dawood Ibrahim,” he said. “Rajan was closest to Dawood before he parted ways with him after the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. Shakeel could rise through the ranks in Dawood’s gang only after Rajan’s departure.”
Rajan’s close association with Indian security agencies in the past has given rise to speculation that he was extracted from Australia to keep him safe here in a prison.
“Certain elements in Mumbai police were gunning for Rajan when he parted ways with Dawood after the 1993 serial blasts,” said former Intelligence Bureau special director Arun Choudhary. “Cornered by these elements who were close to Dawood, Rajan offered his services to central intelligence agencies to keep himself safe and the information provided by him was used for operational purposes. The remnants of rival Dawood gang may try to finish him once he is back in Mumbai.”
Rajan was formally arrested in Bali on Sunday, more than a week after he arrived there from Australia, multiple sources in the security establishment said.
“Rajan came on the radar of Australian police after Shakeel tried to arrange a hit on him there,” the government official said. “When he applied for his Australian visa extension more than a month back, local police identified him through his fingerprints. But they allowed him to leave for Bali and then informed Indonesian and Indian authorities.”
Shakeel attempted to kill Rajan at a Bangkok hotel fifteen years ago and he made a daredevil escape despite suffering injuries. Shakeel plotted a second attack while Rajan was recuperating in hospital, but he managed to get away again.