India needs to net bigger don Dawood

The capture of prominent gangster Chhota Rajan at Bali in Indonesia, while welcome, has given rise to more questions and speculation. Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan was arrested by the Indonesian police after receiving a tip-off from their Australian counterparts. Officially at least, the Indian security agencies played no role in his arrest. But a variety of reports suggest that Rajan himself tipped off the Australian police as he was tired of living in hiding and on the run from his former boss, the notorious Dawood Ibrahim. He was also reportedly suffering from various ailments and wanted to return to India. And, ironically, in his reckoning, he would be safe only if he was incarcerated in his home town Mumbai. Be that as it may, the significance of the arrest cannot be underestimated as he is wanted in several cases including the murder of Mumbai’s veteran crime reporter J Dey in 2011. The crime reporter is said to have angered the gangster for a series of articles depicting him as weak and ineffective. Rajan, who is awaiting deportation to India from Indonesia, will hopefully bare all to the police and help in the arrest of several other underworld dons, notably Dawood Ibrahim. 

Rajan, following the 1993 Mumbai serial blast, broke away from Ibrahim and turned into a gangster who reportedly brokered some sort of a deal with Indian intelligence agencies. He was viewed as the man who would lead the agencies to Dawood Ibrahim. Rajan’s associates were reportedly seen with Indian intelligence personnel, giving rise to speculation about a cosy relationship that had developed between the Indian state
and the gangster. Given this context, another view is he would have been far more useful to the Indian agencies as a free individual. 

Notwithstanding doubts over the arrest and real reasons behind it, his capture is welcome as it will bring closure to at least 25 cases of murder, smuggling, drug trafficking and extortion against him. If India’s intelligence agencies are looking for real credit, that would come to them if they succeed in capturing Dawood Ibrahim. But that chase does not seem to have headed anywhere despite reports that he flits between Dubai and Pakistan pretty much at his time and convenience. In India’s quest for Dawood’s
capture, Rajan has been an ally. With his arrest and the anticipated incarceration in a Mumbai jail, he will hopefully be able to lead intelligence agencies to his former boss. Dawood, of course, is no lesser mortal. With his links and alleged state patronage across the border he will remain a tough customer, Rajan or no Rajan.

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