Shetty fears he is on Rajan’s hit list | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Shetty fears he is on Rajan’s hit list

mumbai Updated: Aug 22, 2011 01:05 IST
Debasish Panigrahi

During interrogation, deported gangster Santosh Shetty has not only revealed many unknown facts about his mentor and fugitive don Chhota Rajan’s vengeful attitude towards his detractors but also raised concerns about his own safety.

This is in the backdrop of the fact that Rajan had been hounding him since 2003, following a business dispute in Indonesia. Though he (Santosh) constantly changed his hideouts abroad, he feels exposed following his arrest, and fears for his life.

Sources in the Mumbai police crime branch, where he is lodged following his deportation from Thailand, told HT that the deported don has chronicled Rajan’s vengeance to drive home his point. Shetty, who first caught up with Rajan in Dubai in 1993 when he (Santosh) was running for cover from the Mumbai police. Rajan was then looking after Dawood Ibrahim’s business (smuggling) interests.

In 1994, Rajan fled to Bangkok after parting ways with Dawood. Sources said, that if Santosh is to be believed, Rajan lured notorious smuggler Phillu Khan alias Bakhtiyar Ahmad Khan to Bangkok. Rajan, who handled Dawood’s narco business earlier, knew Khan too. Rajan’s associates Vilas Mane and Mangesh alias Mangya Pawer killed Khan in a hotel in Bangkok.

In 1997, Rajan suspected his old associate and financier Mohan Kotian of shifting his loyalty to rival gangster Chhota Shakeel. Rajan allegedly deputed a hit squad, led by Ravi Pujari, who later broke away from Rajan, to kill Kotian.

Santosh, who was instrumental in helping Rajan flee from a Bangkok hospital, knew how Rajan hit back at his detractors. Two months later, Rajan’s men gunned down hotelier Vinod Shetty, who Rajan suspected to have passed on the information to Shakeel.

Shetty said Sunil Soans alias Sunil Florist, who had arranged a fake passport for Rajan to escape from Dubai, was killed by Rajan’s men in 2001. In 2004, Rajan allegedly ordered the killing of Srinivas alias Sammy following a monetary dispute, Shetty told the police. Santosh has told interrogators that he could well be Rajan’s next target. A senior crime branch officer said, “We are aware of the situation. We are taking all steps to ensure his (Santosh’s) safety.”