In Tihar jail, Chhota Rajan feeds curiosity, fears over security
NEW DELHI: He is Tihar’s latest Bhai but he remained off-limits — resting through the day in his spartan solitary cell and occasionally escorted out for meals and visits to the jail dispensary after all his fellow prisoners were locked away in their barracks.
Until October 25, the day he was arrested in Bali, even the hardened criminals in India’s largest prison would have prayed not to cross paths with Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje alias Chhota Rajan.
But when a posse of armed guards hustled the 55-year-old gangster through the corridors of Jail No. 2 to his cell after dusk on Thursday, everybody wanted a piece of him. “Bhai, bhai,” they shouted from behind the grills that held them back.
Everybody wanted to meet him, talk to him. Jail officials were no exception. “He did not look frightening. He looked like an old man from south India. Everyone wanted to see his face,” said a prison official.
The last time Tihar was abuzz with similar curiosity was during Indian Mujahideen chief Yaseen Bhatkal’s first night at the prison. “This jail has always had celebrity prisoners like Bhatkal and Charles Sobhraj,” the official said.
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