Chhota Rajan’s surrender

Chhota Rajan’s surrender

One more farce

By

Faraz Ahmad

On January 8, 2000 Mohammad Ameeruddin Habeeb alias Amir Bhai the supposed kingpin of the infamous Hawala racket, involving nearly a score of top politicians including four sitting cabinet ministers of the then NDA government, starting with Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, Civil Aviation Minister Sharad Yadav and the then Minister of State for External Affairs Ajit Kumar Panja, apart from a host of other prominent leaders across the political spectrum, with the exception of the Left parties, arrived of his own volition at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport and was detained by the Customs Authorities because his name was among the list of internationally wanted criminals against whom a Red Corner Notice existed.

Sometime in the first half of 1990s the Delhi Police caught a Kashmiri JNU student and claimed to have unravelled the hawala channel through which Kashmiri militancy was being financed. The investigations, later handed over to the CBI, led the premium agency to  Madhya Pradesh based business family of S K Jain and his brothers who were alleged conduits through whom Hawala money worth crores was being distributed in India to, among others, prominent politicians including the above mentioned four NDA ministers of that time. L K Advani resigned his membership of Parliament and did not contest the 1996 elections declaring his intent to return to Parliament only upon the courts acquitting him and within no time the courts did oblige him and thereby all the other politicians accused in the Hawala case including Advani’s three other cabinet colleagues were also discharged for lack of evidence. The investigators had arrived at these names on the basis of a diary the Jain brothers maintained in which they had jotted down the names and amounts in coded language and that included the payments made to Shahabuddin the alleged Kashmiri militant perhaps still languishing in Tihar jail. But the Delhi High Court judge Mohammad Shameem concluded that “Diary is not complete evidence and therefore the CBI case was not sufficiently convincing without any corroborative evidence.

There too the judge was guided by the notings made in the CBI file which claimed that Amir Bhai a Hawala dealer of Mumbai then living in Dubai and Hong Kong was the kingpin in this racket and  only he could confirm the names mentioned in the diary. So long as the case was not decided in favour of Advani and other politicians, the CBI kept claiming that Amir Bhai was elusive and even though the then CBI Director Joginder Singh went personally to Hong Kong to persuade Amir Bhai to return to India to face prosecution he wouldn’t oblige. That is how the supposed corroborative evidence against Advani and others was not provided by the CBI leading to the CBI case against them dying a natural death.

Once the CBI charade ended, Amir Bhai flew into Delhi by a Gulf Air flight, was detained at Delhi Airport on January 8. The Customs authorities immediately informed the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). But while the CBI straight away told the Customs official that they had no case against Amir Bhai (mind you for at least three years the CBI kept telling the courts that Amir Bhai was the kingpin of the hawala racket).

Nevertheless the Customs authorities presented him before Additional Metropolitan Magistrate Sangeeta Dhingra Sehgal who remanded him to judicial custody in Tihar jail where he remained till July 13 and was finally let off on bail by the Delhi High Court never to return to Delhi again. In these seven months neither the CBI, nor ED nor any other official agency ever turned up to question Amir Bhai once, nailing the CBI lie that Amir Bhai was the corroborator who could establish the CBI case. But Amir Bhai was essentially a collaborator who seemed to have returned to Delhi only when the case had been safely buried and there was no threat to the career of Advani and other politicians.

The stage managed supposed surrender of Rajan Sadashiv Nikhalje Chhota Rajan ’s in the balmy holiday destination Bali Island of Indonesia where Chhota Rajan has spread his hotel and entertainment industry, smacks of a similar farce. Chhota Rajan’s prospective return to India, in next couple of days is no thanks to any work done by the Indian intelligence agencies.  It was no three nation operation (India, Australia and Indonesia) as the North Block has happily planted on the gullible media. In the photograph, Chhota Raja is smiling and he in fact stated that he is returning to India of his own volition for his personal reasons.

Now it is a fact that this Mumbai underworld don one time second in command of Dawood Ibrahim gang, supposedly fallen out over the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts, has been for over two decades the Intelligence Bureau’s favourite and protected Don and while he was living abroad in Dubai, Australia, Hong Kong, Bali and where all, the IB under its then Director Ajit Doval was in constant touch with him and providing him protection, even protecting his underworld empire spread across the country here. The NDA went out of power in 2004 and in 2005 Rajan’s points man in India Vicky Malhotra was chased and caught on Rao Tula Ram Marg in South Delhi travelling in a car with Ajit Doval. (All this has been widely reported in the media.)

Now Chhota Rajan is returning to India. Does anyone believe that this underworld Don will face any retribution from a Government whose effective head is Ajit Doval? Of course not. Chhota Rajan has learnt a lesson from Amir Bhai and looking forward to being treated here in India like Amir Bhai, if not given a royal welcome hug.

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