Mumbai/New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) Absconding mafia don Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan, a former aide who later turned a foe of fugitive Dawood Ibrahim, has been arrested in the Indonesian resort of Bali, the CBI said on Monday.
CBI director Anil Kumar Sinha said Chhota Rajan, who operated out of Mumbai and wanted in India for a series of serious crimes, was taken into custody on Sunday when he was travelling under a false identity — Mohan Kumar.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh thanked Interpol and the Indonesian government for their cooperation in nabbing Chhota Rajan, who began life as a black marketer of movie tickets before embracing murders, extortion, kidnappings and more.
“India was active on this case… I want to thank Interpol and the Indonesian government for this. Post-verification, investigation will be taken forward,” Rajnath Singh told the media in New Delhi.
Chhota Rajan, 55, operated from Chembur and surroundings from the mid-1970s when he became a trusted henchman of Dawood, India’s most wanted don who is reportedly hiding in Pakistan.
Among many crimes to his credit, Chhota Rajan’s name figured prominently in the killing of Mumbai journalist J. Dey in Mumbai on June 11, 2011.
Dawood and Chhota Rajan fell out after the bloody March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts that Dawood ordered to avenge the communal riots in the city two months previously and the earlier Babri mosque razing.
Chhota Rajan, who opposed the Mumbai bombings, slipped out of India in 1995 and remained on the run till his arrest on Sunday.
The CBI chief said the arrest was made by the Indonesian police following a request from India.
According to media reports, the don — declared a wanted man by Interpol since 1995 – flew into Indonesia’s Bali province, home to a large number of Hindus, from Sydney in Australia on Sunday afternoon.
Senior officials in Maharashtra declined to comment on the arrest, which will have both immediate and long-term implications for Mumbai’s underworld.
The Indonesia police acted following a tip from from their Australian counterparts, a Bali police official told the media.
The Australian Federal Police had been keeping a track of Chhota Rajan.
Chhota Rajan began his life of crime as a black marketer of movie tickets over two decades ago. Slowly, he took to murders, extortion, kidnappings and other serious crimes once he joined the Mumbai underworld.