The failing health of underworld don Chhota Rajan, alias Rajendra Nikalje, who was arrested by the Indonesian police last Sunday, will be the primary concern of the Indian security agencies who are working to extradite him.
Sources within the security establishment, who have been following the entire plot, said that Rajan needs dialysis of kidneys regularly and even though he is seen smiling and standing in the pictures released by the Indonesian police, the health condition of the 55-year-old Rajan was “critical” as he is suffering from severe kidney problems since early 2000. The problem has deteriorated further in the past 3-4 years and he might need an urgent kidney transplant, sources said. “Right now, our utmost concern is keeping him (Rajan) alive. We have to make sure he remains hale and hearty so that he can be of use to us. Since he was a part of the Dawood gang, he knows things which we can use to weaken Dawood and his associates in India. Of course, our primary objective is to bring in Dawood, there is no doubt about that,” a senior official within the security establishment said.
Sources also said Rajan’s arrest was worked out over a period of few months and it was Rajan, Dawood’s former right-hand man, who approached the Indian security establishment with a desire to “come in”. Apart from health and security reasons, Rajan wanted to come back to India as most of his financial assets are in India. Due to his losing clout, they were being squandered away.
Officials denied media speculation that Rajan was trying to hide in Indonesia. “With Dawood on his trail, he would not have survived in Indonesia for more than a month. He can only live out his remaining life peacefully in the custody of the Indian government,” an official said.
Key players from the government, including officials from the National Security Adviser (NSA) office and Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh personally supervised the entire “surrender-cum-arrest” operation, officials confirmed.
A senior retired intelligence official, presently serving with the NSA office, has been Rajan’s “handler” for long, sources said; once this official was given a key position after the Narendra Modi government came to power, the “home-coming” of Chhota Rajan was always on the cards. It was bound to happen sooner rather than later. “Rajan and this particular official have known each other for long. Rajan would never have turned himself in during the UPA regime as Dawood wielded considerable influence among some of the party leaders who were part of the UPA,” the official said.
Rajan, who has been considerably weakened in the past 5-6 years, both logistically and health-wise, has lost much of his clout in Mumbai and in other parts of the world. Sources said that Rajan had survived at least two assassination bids in the past 10-15 years by Dawood and Chotta Shakeel in Bangkok and Australia, the last one being attempted this year. “On both occasions, he was nearly shot dead, and that reveals much about his falling position in the underworld. Rajan was never a match for Dawood. His only claim to fame is that he was a part of the Dawood gang before splitting on supposed religious ground. But for us, he has proved to be beneficial in the past and we expect that he will be of more help when he is in our custody,” the official said. The underworld has of late increased its investment in the lucrative business of Information Technology, especially in Australia, and has developed a lot of interest in the IT field while continuing to invest in traditional areas like real estate and smuggling, intelligence agency sources claimed.