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How this Delhi milkman’s son became gangster Chhota Shakeel’s aide

Delhi Police have arrested Junaid Chaudhary, who was allegedly planning to assassinate Pakistan-born Canadian writer Tarek Fateh and jailed underworld don Chhota Rajan.

delhi Updated: Jun 14, 2017 15:23 IST
Karn Pratap Singh
Karn Pratap Singh
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Gangster,Chhota Shakeel,Tarek Fateh
Police were on the lookout for 21-year-old Junaid Chaudhary after they intercepted telephonic conversation between him and Chhota Shakeel.(Handout photo)

It takes misplaced courage to dream of a career as a gangster. And the perseverance to call up Chhota Shakeel repeatedly till the underworld don is forced to pick up the phone and say: Impressive!

But 21-year-old Junaid Chaudhary’s efforts to establish himself as Delhi’s top gangster may have ended after his arrest on June 7 for allegedly planning to assassinate Pakistan-born Canadian writer Tarek Fateh and jailed underworld don Chhota Rajan.

“Junaid phoned Shakeel countless times and sent numerous WhatsApp messages over nearly three months before the gangster responded and gave him an assignment,” an investigator in Delhi Police’s special cell told HT. However, investigators are yet to corroborate Junaid’s claim.

Investigators described Junaid, a Class 9 dropout and an average built youth standing at 5 feet 7 inches, as “clever and highly ambitious” who had perfected the art of hoodwinking police.

The son of a dairy farmer from Bhagirathi Vihar in northeast Delhi, Junaid hit upon the idea of contacting Chhota Shakeel after he saw the a Mumbai-based gangster’s mobile phone number flashed by a TV channel about three years ago.

Shakeel is the hitman of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, an accused in the 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai.

As a test of his loyalty and skills, Shakeel allegedly asked Junaid to draw up a plan to assassinate his main rival Chhota Rajan, lodged in Tihar jail. Junaid was also told to look for an opportunity to kill Swami Chakrapani, the Ghaziabad-based chief of Hindu Mahasabha.

Junaid’s plan was to assassinate Chakrapani, get arrested so that he is sent to Tihar jail and then kill Chhota Rajan inside the prison. An impressed Shakeel sent Rs 2 lakh to Junaid, who hired three criminals for the hit job, the official said. However, he was arrested in June last year before he could carry out his plan.

“Junaid made a mistake by contacting Shakeel on his mobile number that was under surveillance...Sleuths caught him when he was almost ready to strike,” the officer said. He got bail in October.

As security agencies continued their surveillance of Junaid, they found him helping his father in his dairy business. Officials started believing that the would-be-gangster was a changed man.

Around two months ago, sleuths intercepted telephonic conversations between Junaid and an illegal firearms dealer for a deal to purchase a pistol and cartridges. Junaid was heard taking Shakeel’s name.

“It did not take us long to understand that Junaid was gearing up again for some crime on Shakeel’s directions. We caught him from Delhi with a sophisticated pistol and four cartridges he had purchased for Rs 1 lakh,” said MM Oberoi, joint commissioner of the special cell.

A scan of Junaid’s mobile phone revealed he was in touch with Shakeel through internet calling and messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Viber and others, even sending photos of the pistol.

Police officials said Junaid could soon be out of jail as the charges against him are not too serious.

“Junaid has only two criminal cases against him till now...He is not afraid of police or the law. He also knows he cannot be kept in jail for long for the nature of his crimes,” an investigator said.

First Published: Jun 10, 2017 18:16 IST