NEW DELHI: Indian gangster Chhota Rajan was jailed for seven years yesterday for passport fraud, the first prison term handed to the so-called “Hindu don” who had evaded capture for more than 20 years. Rajan, once India’s most wanted man, had been found guilty in a New Delhi court Monday of using a fake passport to flee the country in the late 1990s. Three retired government officials were also convicted of helping Rajan acquire the forged document.
“All accused had entered into a criminal conspiracy to do an illegal act by illegal means,” the court said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. “Accused Rajan intentionally and knowingly furnished false information with false address and other particulars whereas in furtherance of the criminal conspiracy.” Rajan, a feared Mumbai underworld figure, was arrested in late 2015 in Indonesia after more than two decades on the run. He was extradited to India, where there are nearly 80 criminal cases registered against him.
Rajan is suspected of involvement in dozens of crimes including murder, extortion and drug trafficking. He dodged police for years even though Interpol flagged him in 1995 as a wanted man. He was the alleged former right-hand man of Mumbai crime kingpin Dawood Ibrahim, who is suspected of masterminding the 1993 bomb blasts in the city that killed more than 250 people in retaliation for anti-Muslim violence a few months earlier.
Rajan parted with Ibrahim after the attacks, becoming a rival to his former ally. He was accused of running one of several underworld outfits that had a grip on Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, in the 1980s and 1990s until a police crackdown. Rajan portrayed himself as a “Hindu don” and began targeting those he considered to be “anti-India”, including Ibrahim’s men. – AFP