The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday took over investigation into five more cases registered against gangster Rajendra Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan, which include the high profile Ashraf Patel murder case of 2000.
Rajan, a former lieutenant of terror accused Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, had been on the run for years before he was arrested in Indonesia and extradited to India in November 2015. The CBI has since then been probing cases registered against him while he was wanted. On Friday, the CBI took up five more cases registered against him by the Mumbai Police between 1997 and 2005.
Patel, a diamond trader, was shot dead in broad daylight on April 24, 2000, outside Noor Baker building in Agripada, where he used to stay with his family at the time, while his cousin Mohammed Sattar, who was also with him, was injured.
The probe into his murder brought several cricket and Bollywood personalities under the scanner, as he moved in elite circles. Patel was alleged to have close links with the D-gang, which made him a victim of the rivalry between Kaskar and Rajan. The Mumbai Crime Branch arrested four accused in connection with the case, while Rajan was declared a wanted accused.
After due permissions from the government, we have taken over the case for further investigation, along with four other cases registered against Rajan, a CBI officer said. The second murder case taken over by the Central agency dates back to 1997, when builder Jayprakash Khare was shot dead in Dahisar. The four assailants ran amok through the crowded market area in Dahisar, firing in the air to discourage anyone from trying to stop them before fleeing the scene.
Three cases of extortion two registered with the Bhandup and Chembur police, and one with the anti-extortion cell of the Mumbai Crime Branch were also taken over by the CBI. The cases name other prominent members of the Chhota Rajan gang, including Bharat Nepali, Balu Dhokre and Pradeep Madgaonkar alias Bandya Mama. In all the three cases, Rajans name was used to extort the victims, either to settle financial disputes or to facilitate illegal takeovers of their land, officers said.