Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said the decision to hand over all the cases against underworld don Chhota Rajan to CBI was taken on the advice of Mumbai police, and dismissed suggestion that it was because of his allegation about a nexus between some police officers and rival gangster Dawood Ibrahim.
“Before we announced the decision, I had called a meeting of senior police officials including Mumbai police commissioner Javed Ahmed. All of them were of the opinion that the cases should be transferred to CBI,” said Fadnavis.
The state government earlier made a surprise announcement to hand over cases against Rajan on the eve of his deportation on November 6. The 55-year-old gangster, whose real name is Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, was arrested in Bali, Indonesia.
Asked whether the decision was prompted by Rajan’s allegation that some officials of Mumbai police were on the payroll of Dawood Ibrahim, Fadnavis said, “We don’t give importance to what a gangster says. There is no connection between our decision and his statement. If we were to catch Dawood, he would say the same thing about Rajan and Mumbai police.”
The question of police officials being upset with the move didn’t arise because the decision was taken at a joint meeting of government and police officials, said Fadnavis, who himself handles the Home portfolio.
Police would assist the CBI in getting information from Rajan on the cases registered in Mumbai, he said.
“He was brought back based on a dossier that Maharashtra government had submitted to the central authorities. We had two options … To bring him to Mumbai and the CBI assists us in the investigation, or keep him in Delhi and police assist the CBI. We chose latter option because we thought CBI has expertise in handling such cases,” the Chief Minister said.
There was no plan to bring Rajan to Mumbai anytime soon, he said, adding that as per the Centre’s advice, the government had nevertheless made necessary arrangements to lodge Rajan if he was brought.