Chhota Rajan brought to Delhi, CBI takes custody


New Delhi/Mumbai :  Long-absconding underworld don Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje alias Chhota Rajan was brought to the national capital from Indonesia on Friday morning as Maharashtra government’s decision to hand all of his cases to the CBI assumed political overtones.

The fugitive don – arrested by Indonesian police on October 25 – arrived at the Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport at 5:30 AM in a special aircraft, accompanied by officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Mumbai and Delhi Police. He was taken straight to the CBI headquarters under tight security.

Security at the CBI headquarters, where Rajan has been lodged, has been beefed up with deployment of more Central Industrial Security Force personnel. The traffic on roads near the CBI office here has been restricted.

In Maharashtra, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party slammed the BJP-Shiv Sena government’s decision to hand over around 75 cases relating to Rajan to the CBI. However, the central government said handling of all cases by one agency was helpful.

Sources said Delhi Police was likely to hand over its seven cases pertaining to Rajan to the CBI.

Rajan is wanted in over 85 crimes, ranging from murder, extortion, smuggling and drug trafficking. Apart from Maharashtra, he has cases against him in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and with the CBI.

Rajan, 55, who fled India in 1988 for Dubai, reached Delhi from Bali after a delay of a few days as flights could not take off from the Indonesian island due to cyclonic storms.

Sources said Rajan is yet to be presented before a special CBI magistrate, who will take a decision on his custody.

“Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan alias Mohan Kumar has been successfully brought back to India on deportation from Indonesia today (Friday) morning. He is in custody of CBI – Interpol. Legal formalities are in process,” the CBI said in a statement.

Officials said Rajan is considered a “friendly don” because of his earlier tip-offs to Indian security agencies about the movement of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.

Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam slammed the Maharashtra government’s decision to hand over cases pertaining to Rajan to the CBI.

“If the CBI will handle all the cases, what will Mumbai police do,” Nirupam asked and urged the state government to reconsider its decision.

NCP state spokesperson Nawab Malik said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Mumbai Police Commissioner Ahmad Javed had assured that the mafia don would be brought to Mumbai.

“Why has he now been taken to New Delhi? What is their strategy? All major cases, including journalist Jyotirmoy Dey’s killing and Pakmodia Street firing, shall be handled by the CBI. Do they doubt our police’s capabilities? It is demoralising the Mumbai Police,” Malik said.

Former Maharashtra director general of police D. Shivanandan also criticised the move to hand over Rajan cases to the CBI and reiterated that the Mumbai police were among the best in the world to investigate any such case.

On the other hand, union Minister of State for Home affairs Kiren Rijiju said: “One agency handling the issue will always help the case. I think we should not discuss much about the procedure because he’s already here,” he added.

Rajan, once a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, parted ways with the latter before the conspiracy for the 1993 Mumbai blasts was hatched. There was an attempt on Rajan’s life in 2000 when Dawood’s men tracked him to a hotel in Bangkok but he managed a dramatic escape by jumping from the first floor of the hotel.

Mumbai Police has nearly 75 cases registered against Rajan, including 20 of murder, four cases under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, one under Prevention of Terrorism Act and over 20 cases under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

Maharashtra additional chief secretary KP Bakshi on Thursday announced it had handed over all its cases against Rajan to the CBI.

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