Acting on a tip-off from the Australian police, Indonesian authorities has detained Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje better known as ‘Chhota Rajan’ as he arrived in the popular resort island of Bali from Sydney. The 55-year-old Nikalje, a fugitive underworld gangster from India, had been on the run for two decades, with Interpol flagging him as a wanted man back in 1995.
“It is a major success. The CBI had been pursuing the matter with the Australian authorities and this led to Rajan’s arrest by the Bali Police,” said CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh. A senior officer also informed that the CBI had already alerted the Australian authorities about Rajan’s presence in their country, and his planned trip to Bali.
"We received information from police in Canberra yesterday (Sunday) about the red notice for a murderer", said the Bali police spokesman Heri Wiyanto.
The Indonesian authorities are believed to have initiated steps for Rajan’s deportation to India. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and other security agencies are reportedly in touch with their Indonesian counterparts to expedite Rajan’s deportation. Though India has no extradition treaty with Indonesia, officials said they were confident that Rajan would soon be deported, as in the earlier case of one Anil Bastawade, a key accused in the money laundering case was deported from Indonesia in 2013.
The police seized an Indian passport issued in the name of Mohan Kumar from the 55-year-old gangster. Suspected to be involved in several murder cases, Rajan had been living in Australia for the past seven years under an assumed name. He flew out to Bali from Sydney on board a Garuda Indonesia flight.
Rajan’s arrest in the latest twist in the dramatic life of the underworld don, once a key member of powerful underworld don the Dawood Ibrahim gang, and had split away protesting against the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.
Reports also emerged that Dawood gang was recently making elaborate plans to attack Rajan in Australia. In September 2000, he was attacked by a hit squad led by Dawood’s lieutenant Chhota Shakeel at a hotel in Bangkok. Then despite several bullet injuries, Rajan managed to escape and went underground.
In recent years, Rajan was probably leading a nomadic life, moving from one country to another, seeking safe hideout. The arrest of Rajan has also renewed the focus on Dawood Ibrahim, the leader of the Indian organized crime syndicate D-Company, whose shadow hangs over a large part of the Indian security establishment discourse in recent months.