New Delhi: Underworld don Chhota Rajan was staying in Australia since 2003 and wanted to extend his residency period in the country to handle operations of his well-spread-out network in Southeast Asia smoothly.
Sources in the CBI, which got 10 days’ custody of Rajan in connection with an alleged fake passport case on Saturday, said, “Rajan allegedly used a fake passport to escape to Australia in 2003. He reached Australia on September 22, 2003 on the strength of the said passport and tourist visa and fraudulently obtained several different visas since then and continued to stay there till October 25, 2015.”
“The CBI held a meeting with the Interpol six months ago on high-value fugitives that led to the disclosure that Rajan was staying in Australia. Rajan’s residency period in Australia was to lapse on October 31. His network is still intact and strong in Southeast Asia,” sources said. Rajan was detained by the Indonesian police in Bali on October 25, 2015 on his arrival from Australia against a red-corner notice issued by the Interpol. Sources said he was subsequently handed over to CBI-Interpol (India) for his deportation to India on November 6, 2015.
Sources said the arrest of the underworld don was a six-month-long operation, with the CBI, Indian and international agencies working in tandem in overt and covert cooperation.
‘Chhota Rajan was not planning to surrender’
Sources said the arrest of Chhota Rajan was a six-month-long operation, with the CBI, Indian and international agencies working in tandem in overt and covert cooperation. Sources said there was no question of Rajan willing to surrender as he was travelling with currency equivalent to Rs 10 lakh and 15 sets of clothes and was probably planning to escape to some country of his choice before being nabbed in Bali. “Rajan had no inclination to surrender as he had refused to sign a surrender document in Bali. The signing of this document would have meant that he be deported to India immediately,” they said. CBI sleuths, in a covert operation a few months ago, had secretly procured his fingerprints without his knowledge when he was staying in Australia using a fraudulently-obtained passport in the name of Mohan Kumar. The fingerprints were matched with Interpol records.
Rajan was produced before a special court here on Saturday and remanded to 10 days’ custody in connection with an alleged fake passport case registered by the CBI on October 31 shortly before its team left for Indonesia to deport him. The agency had registered a case against Rajan and unnamed officials for allegedly issuing a passport to him with the fake identity of Mohan Kumar in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 2003 where he was hiding after escaping from Bangkok following an attempt on his life in 2000 by Dawood Ibrahim’s hitmen.
“CBI has registered a case of alleged cheating, forgery, violation of the Passport Act and violation the Prevention of Corruption Act. This is the second case of fake passport against him, with the first one having been registered in 2002 for another passport, issued in 1996, with the fake identity of Vijay Kadam, in Bangkok,” sources said. The agency team had travelled in 2000 to Thailand to bring him back but he managed to give them the slip.
In one of the passports recovered from him, sources said, he gave his father’s name as “Chhota Rajan”, the alias used by him throughout his underworld life.
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