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Chhota Rajan is likely to be kept in Arthur Road Jail, Mumbai. Photo: PTI
Chhota Rajan is likely to be kept in Arthur Road Jail, Mumbai. Photo: PTI

Not scared of Dawood Ibrahim, says Chhota Rajan

Bali police, however, have put the gangster under special protection and are awaiting a team of officials from India to start his interrogation

Bali (Indonesia): Underworld don Chhota Rajan is expected to be kept in the high security zone at Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail on being brought back from Bali, Indonesia, next week. The Union home ministry has asked Maharashtra’s home department and Mumbai Police to ensure proper security arrangements for Rajan and the state government teams have already visited the jail.

A multi-agency team comprising officials from the Intelligence Bureau, the Interpol division of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Mumbai Police crime branch is likely to leave for Indonesia by the weekend to bring back Rajan. India will seek Rajan’s deportation as it does not have an extradition treaty with Indonesia.

A senior intelligence official who has been involved in the operation to arrest Rajan said on condition of anonymity that since most of the criminal cases involving Rajan are from Mumbai, in all probability, he would be taken straight to that city from Bali and kept in the Arthur Road jail. “Rajan would be lodged in a high security zone of the jail, considering the high threat to his life from rival gangs particularly from Dawood Ibrahim. We are in touch with state officials also and Arthur Road jail already has the infrastructure for such high-risk prisoner. Ajmal Kasab, the main accused of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, was kept there and even Abu Jundal, a key conspirator in the same case, who was brought back from Saudi Arabia, is lodged here. There is also a possibility we may bring Rajan by a special aircraft rather than a scheduled commercial flight," the official added.

Meanwhile, following request from security agencies that Rajan faced considerable threat to his life, Indonesian police have provided security cover to the gangster by a team of special commandos. When asked by media persons in Bali whether he was scared of threats to his life from the Dawood gang, which tried to eliminate him in Bangkok in 2000, Rajan said, “I am not scared", before he was whisked away by the police.

Bali police commissioner Reinhard Nainggolan claimed Rajan has been telling interrogators to release him as he wanted to go to Zimbabwe. Nainggolan said Rajan’s arrest was a serious law enforcement operation under the supervision of the Interpol. “We are waiting for the Indian team and will coordinate with the Indian authorities to formulate a plan on how to deport Rajan. As of now, he is medically fit," he added.

Nainggolan claimed Rajan came to Bali alone and said, “when we caught him, he looked scared and was smoking constantly". The Bali police chief said it was “very suspicious" that a gangster like Rajan who is wanted by Indian authorities and was on the radar of rival gangs was travelling alone. Spokesperson of the Bali police Hery Wiyanto said they were aware of a threat to Rajan’s life.

“We have all the measures in place to ensure the prisoner’s security is not compromised. Since he is a foreigner, we have heightened security for him. He seems to be doing fine and there is no particular behavioural problem with him. If he is under pressure, he is not showing it now," Wiyanto said.

In Bali, Chhota Rajan’s questioning has been largely confined to charges of fake identity as he was travelling on a passport issued in the name of Mohan Kumar from Mandya, Karnataka. He was arrested in Bali on Sunday after he landed from Sydney, following a tip-off from Australian police.

PTI contributed to this story.

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