Chhota Ra­jan wields clout in city’s octroi eva­sion racket: Cops

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ari­tra Hazra ari­tra.hazra@hin­dus­tan­times.com

MUM­BAI: Gang­ster Ra­jen­dra Sadashiv Nikalje alias Chhota Ra­jan may have been ar­rested from Bali, but ac­cord­ing to sources in the Mum­bai po­lice, he has been ac­tive in the city, es­pe­cially for the past two months.

The Sewri po­lice, who have been keep­ing a close eye on unau­tho­rised octroi agents at dif­fer­ent check­points in the city, said Ra­jan’s cronies have one of the big­gest shares in the octroi racket, which has caused mul­ti­crore losses to the state ex­che­quer.

In the past two months, the eva­sion has be­come so brazen that trucks have been pass­ing through with­out pay­ing any octroi, whereas ear­lier they would pay at least a min­i­mum per­cent­age. “While we are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case, some­one called Paresh Shah from Gu­jarat cropped up,” said an of­fi­cer from Sewri po­lice sta­tion.

“He had a ma­jor role in start­ing the racket. Even­tu­ally, other gangs joined in,” the of­fi­cer said.

“Ra­jan’s in­volve­ment in the racket came as a big blow to Shah be­cause he took over most of the ar­eas from where the racket was be­ing op­er­ated,” said a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer, on con­di­tion of anonymity.

He said a few months ago, when Shah saw him­self get­ting side­lined in the racket, he took the sup­port of the brother of a se­nior politi­cian from the city to re­gain the po­si­tion he once en­joyed.

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