After all there are 69 cases registered against Rajan in Mumbai as opposed to the 6 in New Delhi. The Mumbai police is sure a disappointed lot, but have to conceal their embarrassment as it was the government of Maharashtra which took the decision.
The official reason given by the Police Commissioner of Mumbai and Additional Chief Secretary of Maharashtra in a hurriedly addressed press conference was that Rajan is a transnational and since India is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime it would be the CBI which will probe the cases.
However is it just the technicalities that made the Maharashtra Government transfer the cases to the CBI. The decision to lodge Rajan in Delhi and have the CBI probe him goes beyond just technicalities and reminds us of that never ending tussle between Delhi and Mumbai over a host of issues relating to criminal investigations.
For starters Rajan was not comfortable with Mumbai police:
The Mumbai police is clearly disappointed with the decision to transfer the case to the CBI. An officer pointed out to OneIndia that there may have been one or two officers who would have leaked information to the Dawood Ibrahim gang, but to brand the entire force as informants of the D Gang is unfair. An official in Delhi however differs and says that it is a crucial investigation and information needs to be heavily guarded and it is sufficient for the same to leak out if there are two black sheep in the force.
Rajan himself was not comfortable with being in the custody of the Mumbai police. He had initially said that he fears being taken to Mumbai and also accused some of its officials of having links with the D Gang. Delhi did consider his view on this and decided that he would be lodged in Delhi. However trying to make that sound too obvious, Rajan did change his statement just before his deportation from Bali and denied making any such statement.
How secure is the information that Rajan gives?
The questioning of Rajan will not be restricted to just the cases registered against him. The modus operandi of the underworld which could help break the D Gang's operations in India and Mumbai in particular will some key information that Rajan could provide. If such information is leaked, then the rival gang members could well change their modus operandi and Delhi saw the risk of such leads being leaked if Rajan was questioned in Mumbai.
The reach of the D Gang is something that one cannot debate. The members of the D Gang are capable of carrying out a hit job in a jail in Maharashtra. Moreover there have been several instances where important accused or witnesses have been bumped off while being produced in court or taken for a medical checkup to hospital. These are major concerns and with Rajan being so high on the hit list, Delhi felt that he should not be taken to Mumbai.
A favour returned:
Rajan is a self styled patriotic don. He has been an important source of information for the Intelligence Bureau against the activities of Dawood Ibrahim. He is the one who is alleged to have provided the sharp shooters, Vicky Malhotra and Farad Tanesha to carry out a hit job against Dawood.
However these two shooters were arrested just ahead of D day by the Mumbai police. This took place in 2005 and the bitterness between Delhi and Mumbai has remained since over this and many other episodes.
Rajan has carried out many hit jobs against key D Gang members. His biggest hit job was allegedly on Sharad Shetty the financial kingpin of the D Gang in Dubai.
Rajan was an extremely useful informant at least until 2011. He may not have much information about Dawood Ibrahim as of today, but in the past has given ample leads which have led to D Gang members being tracked down.
If Rajan has really been a vital source of information for the IB, then he would be protected. Leaving him unprotected would send a bad precedent in all future cases and if the trust factor diminishes, then no one would come forward and provide information.
Meanwhile in Mumbai:
There are a few officers who say not all is lost. The intention should be to probe all the cases against him and bring him to justice. Whether it is the CBI or the Mumbai police, the final outcome should be closure of all the cases putting Rajan on trial. The CBI will come to the Mumbai police for information and we shall share it as we have a lot of it, the officer stated.
While the above view is shared by one section there is also another which is disgruntled with the decision to hand over the cases to the CBI. All preparations were made. Barrack 12 of Arthur Road jail was notified and Rajan would have been lodged over there. Some officers say that the entire issue of handing over Rajan's custody to the CBI has nothing to do with technicalities, but more to do with the fact that Rajan insisted on the same.