Chota India

India’s most-wanted criminal arrested in Indonesia after 20 years on the run

NEW DELHI: Indonesian police have arrested one of India’s most wanted gangsters, sought in more than two dozen murder cases, on the resort island of Bali, Indian federal police said on Monday, ending a two-decade-long international manhunt.

Rajendra Nikalje, widely known as Chhota Rajan, has been on Interpol’s wanted list since 1995 for running a crime syndicate that engaged in extortion, arms smuggling and contract killing.

“We tracked Chhota Rajan’s movements closely and informed the police in Indonesia and Australia,” said Anil Sinha, director of the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Indian capital.

“Eventually the Indonesian police managed to arrest him. We are making arrangements to bring him to India and pursue all criminal cases against him.”

Gangsters like Nikalje, who operated in the financial capital, Mumbai, have long drawn attention in India, with their exploits featuring in Bollywood films and newspaper articles.

His arrest comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government ratchets up diplomatic pressure on neighbour and arch-rival Pakistan to hand over his former partner Dawood Ibrahim, suspected of militant links.

Ibrahim is alleged to have masterminded India’s deadliest bombings, which killed at least 250 people and wounded more than 700 in Mumbai in 1993.

Indian authorities say they have shared evidence of Ibrahim’s whereabouts with Pakistan, which rejects India’s claim that he is living there.

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