Serial killer Cyanide Mohan, not Chhota Rajan, arrested by Indonesian authorities: Reports

New Delhi(AFP): Acting on a tip-off from the Australian police, the Indonesian authorities on Sunday reportedly arrested Indian fugitive Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, better known as Chhota Rajan. Rajan has been on the run for two decades and is likely to be deported to India, police officials said to AFP on Monday.

Gangster Chhota Rajan

However, conflicting reports suggest it was serial killer Mohan Kumar, alias Cyanide Mohan, who fell into the police net.

The first report claims that Indonesian authorities detained Rajan on Sunday as he arrived in Bali from Sydney. The 55-year-old Nikalje had been on the run for two decades and Interpol had flagged him as a wanted man in 1995, police officer Wiyanto said.

“We received information from police in Canberra yesterday about the red notice for a murderer,” he said. “We arrested the man at the airport yesterday. This man was suspected to have carried out 15 to 20 murders in India,” he added.

Bali police are coordinating with Interpol and Indian authorities, Wiyanto said to AFP. A spokesperson for Australian Federal Police said Interpol in Canberra had alerted Indonesian authorities, who apprehended Rajan at the request of Indian authorities. Australian police had confirmed last month that 55-year-old Rajan was living in Australia under another identity and had been in discussions with Indian authorities, the spokesperson said to AFP. Rajan was born in Mumbai and is wanted in India on multiple charges, including murder and possession and use of illegal firearms.

Another police official however, said that the arrested individual was Mohan Kumar, a former Indian primary school teacher, facing the death penalty for the murders of 20 young women. Mohan Kumar is accused of using cyanide to kill the women from 2003 to 2009. A court in Mangalore sentenced him to death in December 2013.

An official from Denpasar said that they had arrested Kumar based on a red corner notice from Interpol. Thus, it was Kumar who was arrested as he arrived in Bali, not Rajan.

Cyanide Mohan preyed on women looking for marriage. Denpasar Police chief detective Reinhard Habonaran Nainggolan said police were questioning Kumar and cooperating with Indian authorities.

He said Kumar told police that he had been hiding in Australia for years to avoid arrest, and had planned a 15-day vacation in Bali. Kumar could be deported, or extradited to India, Nainggolan said to AFP.

Chhota Rajan, for his part, began his career in crime as a thief and bootlegger under the wings of Rajan Nair, who was known as ‘Bada Rajan’. He became the head of Nair’s gang after the latter’s murder. Chhota Rajan began working with Dawood Ibrahim before fleeing to Dubai. The two fell out after Dawood masterminded the 1993 Mumbai blasts that killed hundreds of people.

(With AFP inputs)