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This could be another plot to help Chhota Rajan to arrive in India

Finally, fugitive underworld don Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, better known as Chhota Rajan, wanted over a series of murders in India, has been arrested in Indonesia after decades on the run. Chhota Rajan is known as Hindu terrorist and supporter of Hindu groups. There were rumours that he was helping Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to gain information on Pakistan activities. Anyway, this could be another plot to help him come to India in high security arrest as his family and business both exist here. Moreover, his brother who is affiliated with one of the political party Deepak Nikhalje helped Narendra Modi and BJP in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

Report says that, the federal police confirmed last month that Nikalje was living in Australia under another identity and had been in discussions with Indian authorities, but would not provide further details. Acting on a tip-off from Australian police, Indonesian authorities detained Rajan on Sunday as he arrived in the popular resort island of Bali from Sydney. The 55-year-old Rajan, gangster in India, had been on the run for two decades, with Interpol flagging him as a wanted man back in 1995. Rajan was suspected to have carried out 15 to 20 murders in India. Bali police were co-ordinating with Interpol and Indian authorities; it was likely Rajan would be deported to India very soon. Abu Salem too was deported to India and he is living a lavish life behind the bars. Same things may happen with Rajan also. All the gangsters are coming back to Mumbai; in future they may help Indian authorities to arrest Dawood Ibrahim.

Rajan was born in Mumbai, and was wanted for multiple charges including murder and possession and use of illegal firearms.

Chhota Rajan (Little Rajan also known as “NANA”) is the boss of a major crime syndicate. He was a former key aide and lieutenant of Dawood Ibrahim. Starting as a petty thief and bootlegger working for Rajan Nair, also known as Bada Rajan (Big Rajan), Chhota Rajan took over the reins of Bada Rajan’s gang after Bada Rajan’s murder. Later, he was affiliated with and operated at the behest of Dawood in Mumbai and eventually fled India to Dubai in 1988. He is wanted for many criminal cases that include extortion, murder, smuggling, and drug trafficking and film finance. His brother is said to produce films financed by Rajan. He is also wanted in 17 murder cases and several more attempted murders.

He parted ways with Dawood Ibrahim in 1994 after the Mumbai serial bomb blasts. A group within the Indian organised crime syndicate D-Company led by Sautya, Chhota Shakeel and Sharad Shetty had started to resent the growing clout and influence of Rajan. They had started planting stories against him to Ibrahim. Rajan, increasingly became suspicious and insecure of the developments taking place within the gang and began fearing for his life. This led him to request the Indian officials to help him flee Dubai and settle down in another country under a different identity, in return for information about Syndicates.

Born into a Marathi family in Mumbai, Rajan Nikalje grew up in the lower middle class locality of Tilaknagar in Chembur, a suburb in central Mumbai. Then he met mentor Bada Rajan and Yadagiri of Hyderabad under whom he learned the tricks of the trade. Once Bada Rajan was killed, Nikalje received the throne and the title—Chhota Rajan. For a short period, Dawood Ibrahim, Rajan and Arun Gawli worked together. Then Gawli’s elder brother Papa Gawli was murdered over a drug deal and a rift formed. Rajan went to Dubai—his family is still here apart from his wife. In 1989 he went to attend the wedding of Noora, Dawood’s brother. He never returned. There were even reports that he tipped off the Research and Analysis Wing about Dawood’s network. The Dawood-Rajan party was over, the messy end coming in September 2000, with Chhota Shakeel’s attack on Rajan in his Bangkok hotel room.

After the split, Rajan formed his own gang. Reports of bloody shootouts between Rajan and Dawood’s hoodlums have been common since the split. In 1994, Rajan lured one of Dawood’s favourite “narco-terrorist” Phillu Khan alias Bakhtiyar Ahmed Khan- to a hotel room in Bangkok, where he was tortured to death, having been betrayed by his closest aide and sidekick Mangesh “Mangya” Pawar. Both Phillu and Mangya were involved in the 1993 blasts as Police had filed cases on 15 March 1993 alleging their involvement in the blasts.

In September 2000, Dawood tracked down Rajan in Bangkok. Sharad Shetty, used his links with Mumbai-based hotelier Vinod Shetty and A Mishra to track down Rajan in Bangkok, Dawood’s aide Chhota Shakeel then led the hit. Posing as a pizza deliveryman, they gunned down the trusted Rajan hitman Rohit Varma and his wife. However their aim of killing Rajan failed, with Rajan making a dare-devil escape through the hotel’s roof and fire-escape. He then recovered in a hospital and slipped away to evade capture.

Dawood Ibrahim confirmed the attack on telephone, saying Rajan tried to escape by jumping out of the window of the first-floor room where he was attacked. He, however, broke his back in the fall and was taken to hospital. This failed assassination attempt proved costly for Dawood. Chhota Rajan’s associates tracked down and shot dead Vinod Shetty in 2001 in Mumbai, as well as Sunil Soans – another Dawood associate. Both Vinod and Sunil had provided information to Dawood’s associates about Rajan’s whereabouts.

While the killings of Vinod Shetty and Sunil Soans did not significantly disrupt D-Company, on 19 January 2003, Chhota Rajan’s associates then gunned down Sharad Shetty – Dawood’s chief finance manager and money-laundering agent – at the India Club in Dubai. This brazen killing was an emblematic of the shift of power between Dawood and Rajan. Not only was the execution in a very public setting, it was at a location that Dawood considered his operational backyard. Intelligence reports have suggested that Sharad Shetty’s death was a crippling blow to D-Company, since much financial and monetary information of the crime syndicate operations managed by Sharad Shetty was never fully recovered by Dawood. The couple has three daughters; Ankita Nikalje, Nikita Nikalje and Khushi Nikalje

Finally, the don is coming back to his own soil. Let’s see what happens next in Mumbai’s underworld.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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