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Friday, 29 September, 2000, 18:55 GMT 19:55 UK
India to help gangland probe
Bombay skyline
Bombay is bracing itself for fallout from the shooting
By Sanjeev Srivastava in Bombay

A team of Bombay police officials is to leave for Bangkok to help the Thai police with their investigations into the suspected Indian underworld boss, Chhota Rajan, injured in a shootout on 15 September and now in the custody of the Thai authorities.

Chhota Rajan on stretcher
Chhota Rajan: Wounded in a gangland attack
According to the home minister in the western state of Maharashtra, Chagan Bhujbal, an assistant commissioner of police and two other police officers from Bombay will also explore the possibility of bringing Chhota Rajan back to Bombay.

In Bombay there are 17 cases of murder - and many others for smuggling and extortion - registered against him.

The minister said Bombay police officials were in regular touch with the Bangkok police commissioner and a police team from Bombay will also be taking a full dossier on the underworld don.

Extradition

The minister was, however, not very hopeful about the early return of Rajan to India in the absence of an extradition treaty between India and Thailand.

A similar view was also expressed by the Indian minister of state for home affairs , I D Swamy ,who told a TV news channel in Delhi the government can do little but request the Thai Government to hand Rajan over to the Indian authorities.

He said Indian foreign ministry officials were in touch with the Thai Government in this regard.

The Bombay police are also bracing themselves for the bloody fallout they expect from the shootout involving Rajan, in which one of his trusted aides, Rohit Verma, was killed.

Violence fears

A war of words has already erupted between supporters of Rajan - who have threatened to avenge the attack on their leader as soon as he is out of danger and in a safe hideout - and the rival gang of Dawood Ibrahim.

A Dawood aide and the man who has claimed responsibility for the attack in Bangkok , Chhota Shakeel, has also said in an interview that his men will finish off Rajan in three months.

Already the tremors of the attack on Rajan are being felt in Bombay with The Times of India reporting on Friday that some well-known city businessmen have been forced to cough up huge sums of money for the underworld boss' treatment in Bangkok.

Quoting an unnamed police source, the newspaper reported that, apart from a fractured hand and a leg, Chhota Rajan had also lost one of his kidneys in the attack.

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See also:

28 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Bombay gang leader in court
23 Feb 99 | South Asia
Bombay evicts 'gangster chief'
04 Nov 98 | South Asia
Bombay gets tough on gangsters
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