Home / Politics / Policy /  Chhota Rajan arrested in Indonesia

After two decades on the run, underworld don Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje alias Chhota Rajan was arrested by security agencies in Bali, Indonesia, on Sunday. Senior intelligence officials said in New Delhi that Rajan—a former associate of Dawood Ibrahim and one of the most wanted Indian gangsters—was arrested after a tip-off from Australian police after he arrived in Bali from Sydney.

The officials said the Interpol division of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which had issued a Red Corner Notice against Rajan in 1995, had been coordinating with security agencies in Indonesia and Australia.

According to CBI, Rajan is wanted in more than 15 cases of murder, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy, running an organised crime syndicate and violating the Arms Act.

Home minister Rajnath Singh, who is in Bihar campaigning for assembly elections, confirmed the arrest. “This is a major success. Rajan has been arrested due to sustained efforts of CBI’s Interpol division which was trying to nab him for a long time. More details will be known only after some time as the process of verification and other details are on."

CBI will soon send a team to Indonesia for further investigations and India is expected to seek Rajan’s deportation.

A senior intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said India will make a written request to Indonesia to get Rajan deported. “He is an important catch for security agencies as he has worked closely with Dawood and can provide valuable details regarding operations of the D-Company. Rajan fell out with Dawood after the 1993 Mumbai serial bombing, but he must be having important information about the crime syndicate in addition to his own operations in the country."

“We received information from police in Canberra yesterday (Sunday) about the red notice for a murderer. We arrested the man at the airport yesterday. What we know is that this man was suspected to have carried out 15-20 murders in India. Bali police were coordinating with Interpol and Indian authorities," said Heri Wiyanto, spokesperson for Bali police. Wiyanto added it was likely that Rajan would be deported to India.

A spokesperson for the Australian Federal Police said Interpol in Canberra had alerted Indonesian authorities, “who apprehended Nikalje at the request of Indian authorities". The federal police confirmed last month that Nikalje was living in Australia under another identity and that he had been in discussions with Indian authorities, the spokesperson said, but would not provide further details.

The Indian intelligence official quoted above also confirmed intelligence agencies here who had been tracking Rajan’s movement for the last few months had concrete information that he was operating from somewhere in Australia and the information was shared with the local agencies there.

A senior official of the Delhi Police’s Special Cell, which deals with counter-terrorism and organized crime, claimed that Rajan’s influence and activities in the underworld had declined considerably over the last few years. The official who did not wish to be identified added, “Ever since some of Rajan’s close associates like Farid Tanashah and Rohit Verma were killed, his underworld activities have been hampered. Reports also suggest Rajan is suffering from a serious kidney ailment and requires frequent dialysis treatment."

Meanwhile, CBI in a statement said, “At the request of CBI (Interpol) India, the Bali police have arrested an Indian national, Mohan Kumar, on 25 October 2015. Mohan Kumar alias Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje alias Chhota Rajan is a fugitive and CBI has been pursuing the matter with Australian authorities. This is a good and close cooperation between India, Australia and Indonesia. We thank Indonesia and Australia for their prompt action at our request. Further action will be taken as required under the law."

AFP contributed to this story.

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