Did Chhota Rajan give himself up for an urgent kidney transplant?

Police and underworld sources say ailing gangster turned himself in as he wouldn’t have survived much longer without a new kidney.

mumbai Updated: Oct 28, 2015 09:41 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
Chhota Rajan,Underworld,Mumbai
Chhota Rajan (right) with an Indonesian official. (Interpol handout)

Did Chhota Rajan give himself up because he needed a new kidney urgently? While confusion prevails over the circumstances leading to Rajan’s detention in Bali on Sunday, underworld sources claimed that the ailing gangster gave himself up simply because he had run out of options for his treatment.

A source in his gang in Mumbai told HT on Tuesday that Rajan, who has a history of kidney problems, had seen his health worsen over the past four months and urgently needed a kidney transplant. “Both his kidneys have failed and he is on constant dialysis. He needs at least one new kidney to survive,” the source added.

Atulchandra Kulkarni, head of the Mumbai crime branch, said, “I am not aware of these things. I cannot comment,” he said.

Read more: Dawood threat may have ended Chhota Rajan run

However, former assistant commissioner of police (crime branch) Shankar Kamble, who led the three-member team that questioned Rajan at Smitivej Hospital in Bangkok, where he was admitted following the attack on him in 2000, said Rajan had kidney problems then too.

“He was treated for gunshot wounds and kidney problems,” Kamble said. “Even after his escape from Thailand we got information from our underworld sources that his kidney problems were worsening. I am sure he needs a transplant badly. I will not be surprised if he wants to get it done here in India as it is the safest place for him now,” he added.

Read more:NSA Doval devised plan to arrest Chhota Rajan, Dawood hunt in works

Rajan, who is reportedly well taken care of by his sympathisers in the Indian intelligence establishment, had planned to get the transplant in Australia, where he has been holed up for the past two years, sources said. However, that country too became dangerous for him and he narrowly escaped a bid on his life by Chhota Shakeel earlier this year. Sources said he fled to Rwanda for a while but his health continued to deteriorate as he had no access to a secure facility for the protracted treatment that follows a kidney transplant.

Sources said about two months ago, a member of Rajan’s family had volunteered to donate a kidney. However, conducting the operation in Australia was not possible as authorities there had been alerted about the bona fides of his travel documents by then. The other option was his old turf in south-east Asia, Singapore in particular, where he used to visit a dialysis clinic regularly. However, strict organ donation laws there and the threat from his rivals ruled this option out as well, forcing Rajan to consider his last resort – India.

Sources said after consulting with his sympathisers in intelligence agencies, Rajan decided to give himself up in Indonesia as surrendering in Australia would have meant a long extradition procedure, which he could ill afford.

Deportation from Indonesia, which is yet to ratify its extradition treaty with India, could be expedited, given the growing cooperation the country has extended to India in the field of intelligence sharing and exchange of criminals of late.

A sources said this was the reason that news of his detention on Monday evoked little reaction from his cronies or his extended family. “They knew his homecoming was imminent as it was necessary for his survival. Monday’s newsbreak came as no surprise to them,” the source added.

The source also said that Rajan had told his relatives and cronies to break of contact with him about a month before his arrest as it could have enabled his rivals and security agencies to track his location.

Read: Dawood aide Shakeel vowed to kill Chhota Rajan before Diwali

First Published: Oct 28, 2015 00:45 IST