Bali: The process for deportation of underworld don Chhota Rajan has begun even as India and Indonesia are to expedite the work on implementation of an extradition treaty.
India’s Ambassador to Indonesia Gurjit Singh said an extradition treaty and a treaty for mutual legal assistance have already been concluded and letters for their implementation would be exchanged during the visit of Vice President Hamid Ansari beginning on Sunday.
Singh said the process relating to the two treaties is “coincidental” to the visit of the Vice President and not being hurried up.
The ambassador said the process of Rajan’s deportation to India has begun but there is no deadline for it and termed as “speculative and hypothetical” reports that Rajan had surrendered to the Indonesian authorities.
The India-Indonesia extradition treaty was signed in 2011 but has not been implemented yet.
Lawyer Fransico Prassar, who has been hired by Rajan, met him at the detention centre where he is lodged but he refused to make any comment on his client, one of India’s most wanted criminals.
“I have met him and discussed about the case. Beyond that I have no comment to offer now,” Prassar told reporters.
In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the Ministries of External Affairs and Home were working together to bring back Rajan from Indonesia “as early as possible”.
The 55-year-old Rajan, whose original name is Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje, was questioned by the Indonesian police for six hours today about his identity and criminal acts in India.
Bali Police Commissioner Reinhard Nainggolan said Rajan has been allowed to communicate to the Indian mission in Bali besides allowing a meeting with a lawyer.
Rajan, who is wanted in over 75 heinous crimes ranging from murder, extortion to smuggling and drug trafficking, was questioned both in English as well as in Hindi through a translator.
An Indonesian police spokesperson said that they have submitted a report to the Indian consulate in Bali as well as Interpol about Chhota Rajan’s arrest and identity.
Asked about the reports of threat to Rajan’s life, the spokesperson said since Rajan got a lawyer, the spokesperson can talk to him and through him can lodge a complaint.
He said Rajan has been cooperating with the police so far and has accepted that his real name is Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje.
Mumbai-born Rajan, once a close confidante-turned-rival of underworld ganglord Dawood Ibrahim, yesterday said that he was not afraid of Dawood, the prime accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
Rajan was arrested in this popular Indonesian tourist destination on a Red Corner Notice issued by Interpol after eluding law enforcement agencies for over two decades.
Out of these 75 cases, Rajan is facing four cases under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), one under Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and over 20 cases under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
Indian security agencies are likely to send a team of officials here to bring back the gangster who is in custody since Sunday.
The sources are tight-lipped about the exact arrangements to bring him back because of security concerns arising out of his fierce rivalry with Dawood and his gang.
They said agencies are working on more than one plan to bring back Rajan factoring various permutations and combinations.
Rajan was travelling with the identity of Mohan Kumar with passport number G9273860 when he was apprehended at the airport here, after arriving there on a Garuda Indonesia flight GA715, by the Indonesian Police on a tip off from Australian authorities, they said.
The sources said Rajan was in touch with various police officials for last six months seeking a passage to return to India as he feared for his life in Australia from Chhota Shakeel, a henchman of Dawood.
In 2000, there was an attempt on his life when Dawood’s men tracked him down to a hotel in Bangkok but he managed a dramatic escape through the hotel’s roof.
According to serving and former police officers, who have dealt with the Mumbai underworld, arrest of Rajan is a major success and his questioning is expected to shed light on hitherto unknown facts related to cases linked to his syndicate.