The trapped Don

Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhlanje aka Rajan better known as Chota Rajan 55 , who was the most dreaded criminal and associate of Big Don Dawood Is in the custody of Indian police now and let’s hope that will help solve many mysteries which were behind the curtains so far.  Some people think that he was arrested at Bali as the luck ran out on him but at the same time some others feel that he has planned everything carefully to get the protection of Indian government as he felt his life was under the constant threat from Dawood Ibrahim his onetime boss the worst enemy now. However all went well and no one in India would have expected that he will be caught as swiftly and his extradition to India was even more dramatic as the action of extraditing a person accused or convicted of a crime was never carried out from any country as smoothly as that of Chota Rajan. 

Chota Rajan

Chota Rajan aka Mohan Kumar was born in a laborer’s household in Tilaknagar of Chembur, a suburb of Mumbai and he soon indulged in illegal activities of cinema tickets’ black marketing and later smuggling illicit liquor and met the original Rajan, Rajan Nayar or Rajan Mahadev Nair who died in September 1983 and who was popularly known in the Mumbai underworld by his followers and gang members as Bada Rajan. Now Chota and Bada Rajan were working hands in gloves. Chota Rajan soon became the deputy of Bada Rajan the famous gangster and liquor mafia of Mumbai who operated in a vast area. 

But Bada Rajan did not live long as he was murdered but Chota Rajan took over the gang skillfully and he even strengthened the powers of the gang. This was almost the same time when Dawood was establishing himself as one of the players of underworld in Mumbai as extortionist as a person who tries to obtain something through force or violence and as one of the bigger racketeer in the same area. Dawood even offered contract jobs to Chota Rajan gang which suited the ever expending designs of Chota Rajan. And once Dawood Ibrahim left for Dubai Chota Rajan became the crime king of Mumbai. However, he was the prime target of Mumbai police and by 1988 the things became so complicated for him that he also left for Dubai. 

The criminal connections

The work and gang of Dawood was increasing at a rapid pace and the competition to stay in touch with Dawood group among the other gangs was at its maximum. Every gang wanted to remain in touch with Dawood in order to make money and grab power at the same time such was the influence of Dawood in underworld. He was rightly given the title of Don of the crime in this part of the world. Meanwhile Dawood came in contact with Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and became even more powerful. 

However, the 1993 attack on Mumbai by Dawood gang made a difference between Dawood-Chota Rajan relations besides Rajan was not happy the way Dawood was giving more importance to Chota Shakeel in comparison to him. But the relations went on until he shifted to Malaysia in 1996. Once in Malaysia he started hitting Dawood gang members while establishing his business within the international waters in and around Malaysia and at the same time continued with his extortionist activities in Mumbai and Pune targeting builders and carrying on with his smuggling  activities at the same time.  

The fight in between Dawood and Rajan

It all became more intense when Rajan killed one of the closest allies of Dawood, the former minister of Nepal Mirja Dilshad Beg who was looking after Dawood’s business in Nepal. Dilshad was mainly looking after the gold smuggling and the counterfeit Indian bank notes printed in Pakistan to India which was one of the major sources of income of Dawood gang.  Then there were alleged cases of murders of Vinod Shetty and Sunil Shetty in 2001 and 2003 respectively both of whom were trusted members of Dawood’s gang. Dawood felt a big setback by these two murders as both of these were important for his gang the D Company. These two murders were considered to be in retaliation of the attack on Rajan in 2000 in which Rajan escaped narrowly although he was seriously injured during the attack and escape and had to be admitted in a Bangkok hospital and was arrested by the police later. 

Let’s have a look at the happenings- here is a short summery during happenings during 1998. Rajan was arrested by the Bangkok police in 1998 but he managed to get released. Dawood arranged an attack on Rajan through one of his sharpshooter who went to him in the disguise of a Pizza delivery boy but escaped although injured seriously and was admitted in a Bangkok hospital. It would be worth mentioning here that Rajan managed to ditch Mumbai police that went to Bangkok to arrest him with the help of two of his associates Santosh and Vijai Shetty from the Thailand police custody, otherwise he could have been brought to Mumbai much earlier.  Probably that was the time he planned to settle in Malaysia. 

Criminal Activities of Chota Rajan

Once Rajan was in Malaysia his criminal activities took a new turn and he was now involved with smuggling of arms and money laundering business. He was reported to be involved with supply of arms to terrorist group Babbar Khalsa in Gujarat in the year 2005. The Mumbai police estimated him worth Rs. billions with his investment in construction, buildings and land. The police have reasons to believe so as his wife Sujata owns Khushi Developers, a construction company in the name of their youngest daughter engaged in construction and land development business in Mumbai and Pune. The police had registered a case against close associates of Rajan under MAKOKA which revealed a number of bank accounts with transaction of billions. The Rajan Gang is also accused of murdering Manish Lala, Salim Kurla and Mohammad Jindran besides other criminal activities in Mumbai. 

Rajan has 70 or more registered criminal cases against him in India and he has established himself as king of crime in India especially in Mumbai area which was evident from the fact that the day his mother was to be cremated in 2014 the entire area where his family lives in Chembur remained closed despite the assurance of police protection to shopkeepers. It would be worth mentioning at this point that the younger brother of Chota Rajan Deepak is deputy president of Maharashtra Republican Party and if the number of politicians attended the last rituals of his mother has any indication Rajan has a good political support in his home state. One of his daughters is married and two others are studying in England.


Now that most of Rajan’s associates have been arrested or killed the chances are Rajan gang which came to ground in 1996 once his relations soared with Dawood is finished forever.  For instance one of his gang members Vikky Malhotra and Farid Tanasha are already in Delhi jail. Another close associate of Rajan, D.K. Rao and Guru Sitam who helped him find new gang members are already out of his gang’s activities. Now he counts on Abu Sawant and Ravi Pujara who are looking after his business in Malaysia. His other main gang members like Ejaz Lakdawala is one of the most wanted gangsters from Mumbai, and Bunty Pandey are no more working for him. Now that Chota Rajan is physically unfit and trying to save his life from the Dawood gang has no choice but to help Indian police and stay safe in police custody. He has no future in criminal activities as he is already registered for number of murders, extortion cases, money laundering and smuggling of gold and arms.  

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