Prison officials are looking to step up security at Arthur Road jail to prepare for the arrival of gangster Chhota Rajan, who was arrested last week in Bali and will be extradited to India soon. The additional security is meant to prevent an attack on Rajan by his rivals from the Dawood Ibrahim gang. A few months ago, Dawood’s lieutenant Chhota Shakeel had hatched a plan to kill Rajan in Australia, but the attempt failed as Rajan got wind of it, according to a police source.
As most of cases against Rajan are in Mumbai, he is likely to be brought to the city soon after his extradition, said another source, and is likely to be lodged in Arthur road jail. Considering that many inmates of the prison are from rival gangs, jail officials are thinking about roping in a paramilitary force, such as the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which bolstered security at the jail when Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was lodged there.
“We will rope in a security force equivalent to ITBP to ensure tight security at Arthur Road jail. This was discussed at a recent meeting attendant by senior officials from of jail, the police and the government,” said a senior prison official, who did not wish to be named.
A source in the jail said Rajan is likely to be kept in the same high- security cell that housed Kasab for four years. Presently, the cell houses Lashkar-e-Taiba handler Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abu Jundal. The source added that jail officials anticipate trouble from members of the Dawood gang, some of whom are facing trial in the 1993 serial blasts case, including Dawood henchman Mustafa Dossa.
Considering past attacks, like the fatal one on Rajan gang member OP Singh in Nashik jail by rival gang members and one on gangster Abu Salem in Taloja jail, officials may shift members of Dawood’s gang to other jails before Rajan is brought there. Jail officials have be gun reviewing t he inmates of Arthur Road jail.
A source said that the police may also request the court to allow the gangster to be tried in special court within the jail to minimize chances of an attack on him. However, a senior jail official said the state government will take a call on this after analysing the threat to Rajan.
Rajan faces charges in at least 75 cases, including at least four under the defunct Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, one under the defunct Prevention of Terrorism Act and around a dozen under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, and 28 for extortion.