Dawood Ibrahim’s right-hand man, Chhota Shakeel managed to exact revenge on his way out of the country by informing authorities that Chhota Rajan’s passport was registered under the name Mohan Kumar, say Crime Branch sources
If you can’t beat them, turn them in — perhaps this is what underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s deputy Chhota Shakeel was thinking as he was thwarted in yet another attempt to eliminate rival gangster Chhota Rajan.
Rajan was travelling with this passport when he was arrested in Indonesia on Monday
At least, that’s what sources in the Crime Branch are now speculating, with rumours that it was Shakeel who tipped off the police about Rajan’s whereabouts and his fake passport, leading to his arrest in Indonesia on Monday.
Chhota Rajan being escorted by plain-clothed police officers to the local police hospital for a health examination in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, yesterday. Pic/PTI
Once a dreaded team, Rajan and Dawood parted ways after 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and sparked a bloody gang war. Rajan — who had spent years abroad in hiding and had managed to evade attempts on his life — may have finally been betrayed to the D-Company by two of his own — a close aide afraid for his life and a resentful cook who had not been paid his dues.
“Rajan had been in hiding since July, after Dawood Ibrahim’s aide Chhota Shakeel sent some men to attack him in Australia. Shakeel had got all the information he needed from two of Rajan’s own men. One was his old cook who had not been paid and another was his close aide who, at one point of time, was part of a secret operation to eliminate Dawood,” said a Crime Branch official.
While the cook willingly supplied information, sources said that Shakeel threatened to kill Rajan’s other aide unless he changed sides. The betrayer joined D-Company under Shakeel and, to prove his loyalty, even went to Australia to meet Rajan so he could pass on information about his whereabouts.
After this, Shakeel planned another attempt on Rajan’s life, like the attack in Bangkok in 2000. He even went to Australia to execute the plan. “The Indian intelligence managed to learn about the plot to eliminate Rajan through phone tapping. They informed Rajan, who went underground immediately,” said a police officer.
Frustrated yet again, Shakeel found another path to vengeance — on his way out of Australia, he tipped off the authorities about Rajan and his bogus passport.
“As revenge, Shakeel informed the Australian police about Rajan and the fact that he held a fake passport under the name of Mohan Kumar. But the Australian authorities did not want to get involved and only kept a watch on Rajan.
When he went to Indonesia, they informed the local police there,” said the Crime Branch officer, adding that it was after this that Rajan alias Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje was caught at Bali airport on Monday.
Sources also debunked the theory that Rajan had engineered the arrest himself, so he could return to India and find protection from Dawood. According to officials, if he had intended on being extradited, he would have made arrangements to surrender in Australia, which has an extradition treaty with India.
“We have an extradition treaty with Australia, signed in 2011, but not with Indonesia. Indonesia does not figure in the 38 countries mentioned in CBI’s extradition treaty list, nor does it figure in the 8 countries with which India has extradition arrangements.
If Rajan had wanted to surrender he would have done it in Australia,” said a crime branch officer, adding that bringing him back to India could be challenging and will probably come with several conditions placed by Indonesia.
To build a case for his return to India, where he is wanted for several serious crimes, the Mumbai Police is now translating all case documents against Rajan to Balinese for the local authorities there.
“We have started the process of translating the documents to the local language in Bali,” confirmed Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Atul Chandra Kulkarni.