Home Ministry plans to nab Chhota Shakeel through Chhota Rajan's arrest
The recent arrest of Chhota Rajan is a tacit attempt by the Indian security establishment to hunt Chhota Shakeel, the backbone of India’s number one enemy, Dawood Ibrahim, and neutralise political parties with underworld links at home. “He is the ear of the head we are after,” said a top Home Ministry official.
Also read: Chhota Rajan's process of deportation begins
It is Shakeel, said the official on condition of anonymity, that the Indian security establishment is chasing with renewed vigour because of fast-changing equations in Asia’s underworld business, most importantly, the burgeoning, billion-dollar narcotics trade that flourishes in Pakistan’s northwest border with Afghanistan.
Chhota Rajan escorted by police officers for questioning in Bali, Indonesia, on Thursday. Pic/PTI. (Inset) Chhota Shakeel
A Home Ministry official confirmed that the move to reign in Shakeel stemmed from confidential reports that said Ibrahim was making “serious baton handing efforts [to Shakeel] because of his prolonged illness”.
Intelligence reports have indicated that Ibrahim, rumored to be holed up at an undisclosed location in Karachi, was suffering from lung and heart ailments and had “handed over a significant portion of his worldwide empire ranging from drugs, real estate, movie finance, fake currency rackets to blood diamonds from Congo to Shakeel”.
“Getting Shakeel would be as good as denting Dawood, who is too important a person for Pakistan to part with,” the official said.
Reports of the US Department of the Treasury have indicated how Shakeel directly interacts with members of Pakistan’s notorious ISI, deeply involved in the narcotics trade, now pledged much higher than the once infamous Colombia-Venezuela circuit.
Increased pressure from India, China, Russia, and the US, has helped reduce blood diamonds outages from Africa from 14 per cent to less than 2 per cent, but there is little let-up on the drug cartels, the reports said. “As Dawood’s eyes and ears, Shakeel is the main person handling it,” the official said.
Furthermore, there have been instances when Shakeel’s tacit involvement has been noticed by Indian intelligence agencies in triggering mass scale sectarian support, “as witnessed in the funeral procession of the late Yakub Menon”.
“The underworld in Mumbai is polarized, and Shakeel wants to size it up for his own benefit. His growth is detrimental to peace because he and his men are no longer into petty crimes and extortion. His empire has expanded manifold,” the official said.
And it is here that Rajan’s network, though faded over the years, will come in handy.
This is the first part.
The second part — indicated through tweets by leaders of some political parties, including Aam Admi Party — is equally intriguing.
The BJP-led NDA wants to keep a check on politicians of parties with strong underworld links and hopes to use Rajan to open up “details of some of the dark chapters of such politicians,” a political source in Delhi said, “crucial evidence of politicians’ links with the underworld always comes in handy while forging relationships with parties.”
The dice is slowly falling into its place.