Mumbai, Jul 31 :City police claimed to have curtailed Chhota Rajan's activities in the metropolis in a “big way” with the arrest of key operatives of the underworld don who challenged the cops by masterminding a number of crimes, including a senior journalist's murder and firing outside the home of Dawood Ibrahim's brother.
Since May, city police have put behind bars at least 15 members of the Chhota Rajan gang. Rajan's close aide D K Rao, bookie Vinod Asrani, shooters Rohit Thangappan alias Satish Kalya, Umed-Ul-Rehman and other active members Anil Waghmode, and Aasid Jaan Shaikh were among those arrested in the past two months.
“With the arrest of these key associates of Rajan, we believe that we have cracked down or curtailed his activities in the city in a big way. Every day we put our all efforts to catch the wanted accused, no matter to which gang they belong to,” Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said.
“As his activities increased in the past few months, we have taken it as a challenge and determined to nab his aides involved in the various crimes,” he said.
The underworld don was involved in sensational killing of the city-based senior investigative journalist Jyotirmoy Dey (56), who was shot dead by four motorcycle-borne assailants in suburban Powai on June 11.
Another instance was of firing outside underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's brother Iqbal Kaskar's residence on Pakmodia Street in south Mumbai on May 17, in which his bodyguard-cum-driver Arif Syed Abu Bukha was killed. Kaskar was not present at the spot when the incident happened. “Before these two cases, Rajan had also masterminded a number of crimes and we had arrested all those who executed the crimes here at the behest of Rajan,” Roy added.
D K Rao, Vinod Asrani, Rohit Thangappan alias Satish Kalya, Umed-Ul-Rehman and other active members Anil Waghmode, and Aasid Jaan Shaikh had been working for Rajan for years and the arrest of these people was certainly a major setback for his activities, he said.
Another IPS officer on condition of anonymity said, “These two sensational cases have created fear among the common people and we had faced flak from all the quarters.” Soon after Kaskar's firing that grabbed national headlines, Dey's killing had put the city police in a tight spot.
With firing outside Kaskar's residence, it was criticised that police were unable to prevent gang war in the city, the officer said.
“Later, protests from the journalist fraternity demanding immediate arrest of the accused involved in the Dey's killing or hand over the case to the CBI have made us to work round-the-clock to catch the culprits,” he added.
In a concerted effort, the police have activated their informers' network, he said adding, “Our efforts have paid off a fortnight after the Dey's killing as Rajan's men involved in the crime were arrested”.
Police had arrested Rajan's eight aides including Vinod Asrani, Rohee Thangappan Joseph and Anil Waghmode in Dey's killing.Whereas, two shooters Syyed Ali and Indra Khatri had been arrested near J J Hospital while they were trying to escape after the firing outside Kaskar's residence on May 17.“After much efforts, five more including D K Rao,Umed-ur-Rehman and Aasid Jaan Shaikh were arrested,” the officer said. PTI