'Betrayed' gangster got him arrested in Nepal

Bunty Pande was always on the edge following the split from his mentor Chhota Rajan in September 2000.

mumbai Updated: Nov 10, 2010 01:38 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times

Bunty Pande was always on the edge following the split from his mentor Chhota Rajan in September 2000.

Rajan, who was vying for his blood for the 'betrayal', almost had him in 2003 at Kathmandu.

Pande revealed to the Crime Branch officials a dramatic plot hatched by Rajan to facilitate his arrest.

Pande was one of the few underworld hirelings who had never been arrested in India till his deportation, though he was wanted in 34 cases.

Though he was a prime accused in the murder of former East-West Airlines managing director Takiuddin Wahid in 1995, he managed to evade arrest. He sneaked out of the country in 1999 on a fake passport.

Highly placed sources told the Hindustan Times that Bunty came to Kathmandu from Vietnam in 2003 with his pregnant wife, Neelam. After Pande's daughter Natali was born in a clinic at Kathmandu, he decided to continue his wife's stay there for nursing. However, Rajan's men got whiff of his presence in the city.

In October 2003, the Kathmandu police conducted a surprise check at the clinic and nabbed Pande. It did not take him long to realise who was behind passing the information to the Nepal police and the consequences following his arrest — possible deportation to India.

However, Pande was no novice in the Nepalese capital. He was part of the hit squad sent by Rajan to gun down ISI sympathiser Mirza Dilsaad Beig, a member of parliament from Kapilvastu, in 1998. He had cultivated his sources and sympathisers there while plotting the murder.

Pande, sources said, was released a couple of hours following his arrest after a few palms were greased. “He and his family took the first flight to Bangkok and from there to Vietnam,” sources said adding, “he never went to Kathmandu again.”

The incident was a lesson for Bunty who quickly changed his place of stay from Ho Chin Minh City to a small town 100 km away and ceased all his activities for the next six months. This was to ensure that he was out of Rajan's radar.

First Published: Nov 10, 2010 01:36 IST