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Thursday, 28 September, 2000, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Bombay gang leader in court
Chhota Rajan on stretcher
Chhota Rajan was wounded in a gangland shooting
A suspected Indian underworld boss has appeared in court in Bangkok to testify against four men alleged to have shot him in a gangland attack.

Rajendra Nikhalje, known as Chhota Rajan, was brought to the court on a stretcher amid tight security.

After testifying, Chhota Rajan was taken to another court in connection with charges of giving false information in a visa application.

Bombay police have been keen to extradite Rajan to try him on a series of murder, smuggling and extortion charges.

But the charges by Bangkok immigration will now keep him in the country.

Rajan had allegedly asked to change his tourist visa to a business visa to enable him to operate an import-export company.

Gangland attack

One of Rajan's close associates, Rohit Verma, was killed and his wife injured in the attempt on his life.

Destroyed taxi outside the Air India offices in Bombay 1993
Wreckage of the 1993 Bombay bomb campaign
Rajan was shot in the stomach and shoulder but managed to escape by jumping out of a window.

Three Pakistanis and a Thai national were arrested over the attack.

A rival gangster, Chhota Shakeel, reputed to be a close aide of another Bombay gang leader Dawood Ibrahim, has said he was responsible for the attack.

Rajan was believed to be part of the Ibrahim gang until 1993, but he then split with him after bomb blasts in Bombay that year in which several hundred people were killed.

The bomb blasts were alleged to have been masterminded by Ibrahim, who is now believed to be operating out of Karachi in Pakistan.

Rivalry

The BBC's Sanjeev Srivastava in Bombay says Rajan now attempts to portray himself as a Hindu Mafia boss.

His men are charged with killing some of those accused in the Bombay bomb blasts case.

Since 1993, violence between the two gangs have led to killings in India, Nepal and the Gulf state of Dubai.

Rajan and Ibrahim fled India when they were unable to stave off pressure from the Bombay police.

They are now believed to have operations in the Gulf, South Asia, and many south-east Asian countries as well as Australia.

See also:

23 Feb 99 | South Asia
04 Nov 98 | South Asia
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