Bali/New Delhi/Mumbai: Underworld don Chhota Rajan is expected to return to India early on Friday, 27 years after he had fled the country in the face of numerous cases of murder, extortion and drug smuggling against him.
His deportation was deferred as the international airport in Bali was shut down due to spewing of volcanic ash from a nearby mountain.
Additional Chief Secretary K.P. Bakshi said at a press conference in Mumbai that Chhotan Rajan, who was arrested by Indonesian Police on October 26, was escorted amidst tight security to the Bali airport for a flight to india, which is scheduled to land in New Delhi around 4 am Friday.
In a surprise development, he said the Maharashtra government had transferred all the cases pending against the mafia don to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which will now probe them.
Indonesian police escort don Chhota Rajan (C) from Bali police headquarters to Ngurah Rai Airport during his deportation from Denpasar on Bali island on Thursday. Pic/AFP
After the authorities here declared the airport open, the Indian team comprising CBI, Delhi and Mumbai police officials began the process of deportation of 55-year-old Rajan, who had fled India in 1988 for Dubai.
Sources privy to the developments said the underworld don, who was arrested on October 25 after the Australian police tipped off the Bali police about his presence in the Island, was to undergo mandatory health check up before he would emplane a special aircraft for Delhi.
India was keen that the deportation takes place at the earliest and had put in a request to Indonesian authorities immediately after his arrest, the sources said.
Mumbai police is also keen to question Rajan but it is unlikely that he would be handed over to them, the sources said, adding the custody will be given to Special Cell of Delhi police for sometime for being interrogated by sleuths of various agencies.
Rajan, whose real name is Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, is wanted in over 75 crimes ranging from murder, extortion to smuggling and drug trafficking.
Mumbai Police has nearly 70 cases registered against Rajan, including 20 of murder, four cases under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, one under Prevention of Terrorism Act and over 20 cases under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
Delhi Police has six cases registered against Rajan, who was a close aide of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim at one point but split before the 1993 Mumbai blasts were conspired.
In 2000, there was an attempt on Rajan's life when Dawood's men tracked him down to a hotel in Bangkok but he managed a dramatic escape by jumping from the first floor of the hotel.