Gangsta? rap for prisons minister

A telephonic conversation between don Chhota Rajan and his top hitman DK Rao, intercepted on September 26, 2005, has opened a can of worms.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 08:44 IST

A telephonic conversation between don Chhota Rajan and his top hitman DK Rao, intercepted on September 26, 2005, has opened a can of worms.

The transcript, submitted to the MCOCA court by the Crime Branch, exposes the alleged complicity of Minister of State for Home (Prisons) Siddharam Mhetre in reinstating suspended Nashik jail officials, who allegedly helped in bumping off dissident Rajan aide OP Singh.

Also exposed is corruption in Mantralaya and the Nashik jail administration.

The conversation centres around the reinstatement of officials suspended after Singh’s murder inside Nashik prison.

“Bhai, those Nashik jail officials engaged by us to eliminate Singh, and who were suspended, have been reinstated. We have to pay them their outstanding Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 for the job,” Rao allegedly told Rajan.

The Crime Branch claims to have over 150 tapes of Rao-Rajan conversations and other gangster, made over seven months.

Rao is in Arthur Road Jail. He would speak to Rajan every day on a cellphone smuggled into the prison. The conversations revolved around bribing the judiciary to help the release of gang members. The intercepts show Rajan and Rao talking about managing judges and public prosecutors through defence counsel.

Mhetre denied any involvement in reinstating tainted cops. “I don’t know any DK Rao and neither did any suspended jail official meet me. Crime Branch officers told me it is common practice for gangsters to drop big names to divert the police’s attention from the main issue,” Mhetre said.

His party, meanwhile, is playing wait and watch. State Congress chief Prabha Rau said: “Public personalities’ names figuring in gangsters’ conversations doesn’t prove anything.”

First Published: Mar 10, 2006 05:10 IST