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Chhota Rajan: From a petty thug to underworld kingpin

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Oct 26, 2015, 10:34 pm IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 8:38 am IST
Born as Rajan Nikalage, Chhota Rajan used to sell movie tickets in early 1980s
Gangster Chhota Rajan arrested in Bali (picture credit: NCB-Interpol Indonesia)
 Gangster Chhota Rajan arrested in Bali (picture credit: NCB-Interpol Indonesia)

Mumbai: A two decade long cat and mouse chase came to an end with the arrest of Chhota Rajan, the underworld boss, who rose from the ranks of a petty thief to become face of one of the most dreaded crime syndicates in India.

Born as Rajan Nikalage in a lower middle class family that hails from Tilaknagar area of Chembur, Mumbai, Chhota Rajan used to make a living out of selling movie tickets before he eventually became a part of the D-Company.
 
He was taken under the wings of Rajan Mahadev Nair aka Bada Rajan, who introduced him to the world of organised crime in the 1980s. Chhota Rajan initially worked as a bootlegger for Bada Rajan, but his boss' demise catapulted him to the helm for a short while and he soon began working with Dawood Ibrahim.
 
According to the Interpol website, he is wanted in a series of extortions, murders and smuggling of drugs. Rajan is said to have financed several bollywood movies and the police has been probing several cases of movies being allegedly financed by the underworld kingpin. His rising notoriety soon made him the most wanted gangster in the country, but his popularity also gave rise to resentment amongst those who worked with him.
 
Rajan allegedly parted ways with Dawood after the 1993 blasts in Mumbai but continued to operate out of Dubai. He formed his own new gang, a move that further embittered ties between him and Dawood and soon a spurt of gang wars erupted between the two, with both bosses hungry for the other's blood. 
 
Chhota Rajan increasingly feared for his life and allegedly offered to help provide Indian authorities with information on the D-Gang in exchange for his safety.
 
According to reports, in 2000, Dawood's close aide, Shakeel made an attempt to kill Chhota Rajan at a hotel in Bangkok but the latter managed to escape unhurt. 
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