//Dawood – Chotta Rajan Bhai Bhai Now!

Dawood – Chotta Rajan Bhai Bhai Now!

Underworld detente: Like old times again

J Dey, Hindustan Times, Mumbai, May 27, 2006

The news from Dongri, gangster Dawood Ibrahim's stronghold, is that a major regrouping in Mumbai's underworld is on the cards. It seems the don is inching close to patching up with his former lieutenant Chhota Rajan.

Sources say Dawood and Rajan have been in contact for the past few months and there are reasons to believe that their decade-old enmity is about to end. Or that, at least, a truce is about to be reached between the two warring gangs.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Dhananjay Kamlakar says: “There's a strong possibility that there could some agreement between the two gangsters.”

The family members of the gangsters are also said to be in touch with each other. "Dawood and Rajan have been talking to each other on a regular basis in the past few months," says a Dawood relative. "They've come close recently. It's a welcome move as two brothers have come together. Dawood never hated Rajan. It was some misunderstanding with his brothers and other associates."

The development comes at a time when Ejaz Lakdawala, Rajan's former lieutenant, has already returned to the Dawood fold.

The first sign of a patch-up was when DK Rao, a key lieutenant of Rajan, was seen with Iqbal Kaskar, Dawood's younger brother, at Arthur Road jail. Rao and Kaskar had meals together and shared the same van while being escorted to court.

There is another fact which points to a likely coming together of Dawood and Rajan: in the past one year, none of Dawood's men has been attacked by the Rajan gang.

Once Dawood's trusted lieutenant, Rajan had incurred the wrath of other gang members, including Dawood's brothers, with his steady rise up the gangland ladder.

Rajan is now said to be under pressure after his wife Sujata was arrested by the crime branch last year. He fled India to Dubai in 1988. After falling out with Dawood, he frequently invoked "national interest" in his feud with the D-Company and in media interviews admitted to close links with the IB. On the run across the globe, he is variously believed to be in places as far apart as Cambodia and Canada

Dawood too is on the run. After allegedly planning and financing the Mumbai serial bombings of 1993, he is said to have moved to Pakistan.