New Delhi: After 30 long years, mafia don Chhota Rajan on Friday met his two older sisters, with one of them pleading that he should be treated "well".
Sunita Chavan and Malini Sakpal met Rajan, 56, at the headquarters of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after Special CBI judge Vinod Kumar gave the go ahead.
The occasion that brought the sisters and brother together was the festival of 'Bhai-Dooj'.
The emotional reunion lasted some 25 minutes, before which Sunita Chavan, the younger of the two sisters, told IANS that they had not spoken to him during the last three decades when he married crime.
Chhota Rajan's sisters -- Sunita Chavan and Malini Sakpal -- at CBI office on Bhai Dooj
Chavan and Sakpal live in Maharashtra, and reached New Delhi on Thursday with a lawyer with the intention of meeting Rajendra S. Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan, who is in a CBI lock-up here.
"We are meeting him after 30 years," a visibly excited Sunita Chavan told IANS.
"We never knew where he was living all these years. We never spoke to him even on telephone."
She said both sisters "are feeling very good that he is back in India, even if he is in custody".
Asked if they had any view on Chhota Rajan being in custody in Mumbai or Delhi, she said: "He is in custody, which custody doesn't matter. The CBI is a bigger agency, so we feel he will be treated well."
Sunita Chavan insisted that her brother was being framed on most cases he is accused of.
"If he was living in Australia all these years, how could he be involved in crime here (India)?" she asked.
"In any case, he has not done anything against the country," she told IANS, trying to draw a line between an underworld involved in crime and an underworld with terror links. "So he should be treated well."
The sisters had met Sessions Judge O.P. Saini at his Gurgaon residence on Thursday night. They had moved an application before Saini at the Patiala House Court seeking clearance to meet him.
Rajan's sisters sought the CBI court's permission to meet their brother currently in the probe agency's custody on the occasion of 'Bhai Dooj', saying they hadn't met him for the past 27 years and wanted to bless him.
During the hearing which took place at the residence of Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar, the court asked Sunita Sakkharam Chavan and her elder sister Malini Sakpal to approach CBI's investigating officer with their application.
Advocate Rajiv Jai, who appeared on behalf of Rajan's sisters, who reside in Maharashtra, said the court has asked the IO to consider the plea keeping in view the security concerns.
In an application moved before the court, Rajan's sisters sought permission to meet the underworld don on compassionate grounds.
"The applicants pray that the applicant Sunita Sakkharam Chavan and her elder sister Malini Sakpal may be allowed to meet their brother. That the applicants are physically unfit and may be escorted by their son-in-law Anil Menon for help," their application said.
Both the sisters in their application said they would not hinder the probe and abide by any condition imposed by the court. "Allow the applicant Sunita Sakkharam Chavan and her elder sister Malini Sakpal along with their son in law Anil Menon (for help) to meet their brother Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje alias Chhota Rajan who is in police custody (CBI) for ten days since November 7, 2015; on compassionate grounds and allow them to follow rituals of Bhai Dooj subject to any conditions which the court may deem fit and proper in circumstances," the plea said.
After being on the run for the past 27 years, underworld don Chhota Rajan was brought to India from Indonesia on November 6 by a joint team headed by CBI officials to face trial in various criminal cases registered against him in Delhi and Mumbai.
On November 7, CBI had got 10 days custody of Chhota Rajan in connection with an alleged fake passport case registered by the agency on October 31, shortly before its team left for Indonesia to deport him back from Indonesia.
Rajan's sisters' plea further said that "the applicants have never met their brother for the last so many years and after so many years when he is in the country, they wish to bless him."
The agency had registered a case against Rajan and unnamed officials for allegedly issuing a passport to him with a fake identity of Mohan Kumar in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare in 2003, where he was hiding after escaping from Bangkok following an attempt on his life in 2000 by Dawood Ibrahim's hitmen.
CBI had registered the case for the alleged offences of cheating, forgery, violation of Passport Act and violation Prevention of Corruption Act. This is the second case of fake passport against him, the first having been registered in 2002 for another passport issued in 1996 with a fake identity of Vijay Kadam in Bangkok.
The 55-year-old gangster, whose real name is Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, has been kept in the national capital where he is being questioned by sleuths of various investigating agencies as he has been making claims of having further evidence to nail India's most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim and his links with Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI.
Ahead of Rajan's arrival in India, Maharashtra government had made a surprise announcement of handing over all the cases relating to the underworld don to the CBI as the agency had expertise in handling such cases.