KOLKATA: CBI sleuths probing old cases against Chhota Rajan after his recent arrest have stumbled upon a well-guarded secret—the mafia don’s main lieutenant Vicky Malhotra had been running his activities from Kolkata for the last several years. And neither the Kolkata cops nor the West Bengal Police were even aware of it.
Some intelligence officials believe that Rajan surrendered to the police, as it is not logical for a mafia don of his stature to fly alone from Sydney to Bali, where he was arrested. They also feel that Vicky played a vital role in his surrender and that in return he might have been aided by some intelligence officials to leave the country.
Rivalry between various intelligence agencies and the central investigative agencies, who utilise dons to suit their ends, tend to work in favour of the criminals.
Vicky had even managed to befriend a former director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) who helped him to jump bail in New Delhi and escape to Kolkata. The Delhi Police had arrested him in 2005 from a safe house of the IB in Bapu Dham. The arrest was stage-managed to provide him with security.
The CBI and some other central investigative agencies are frantically searching for Vicky, but to no avail so far. He is seen as a key figure for investigators to extract details of Rajan’s underworld empire not only in India but also abroad.
The son of a factory worker in Siwan district of Bihar, Vicky is a school dropout. In 1990, he migrated to Mumbai in search of a job with the name of Vikrant Malhotra. Born Vijay Kumar Ram Badal Yadav, he changed his name to escape Siva Sena’s wrath against Biharis in Mumbai.
In Mumbai, he met a gang of pick-pockets from Bihar who trained him. He soon became an expert, who would prey on passengers in the overcrowded compartments of Mumbai’s local trains. He was caught and sent to Nasik jail, where he met Chhota Rajan.
After his release from jail in 1996, Vicky teamed up with Bobby Maikar and began to extort realtors in Mumbai.
In 1996, the duo murdered two builders, Ramesh Patel and Shantilal Patel, from Santa Cruz in Mumbai. Immediately after his first murders on the orders of Rajan, Vicky teamed up with Rohit Verma and killed Prakash Singh alias Sunny of Dawood Ibrahim’s gang at Andheri in Mumbai.
Since the Mumbai Police crime branch turned on the heat, Vicky fled the city a year later and through his contacts among the large Bihari population found shelter in Kolkata.
After landing here with a wealth of funds, Vicky’s first job was to change his identity and looks. He filed a false affidavit at the Alipore court and changed his name to Vijay Kumar Ram Badal Chowdhury. He opened an account in a nationalised bank with his new name and even obtained a passport, which helped him to go overseas several times to meet Rajan.
He also bought a flat in a high-rise complex at Dum Dum Park in the northeastern part of Kolkata, and introduced himself to people as a businessman. He never committed any crime that could have drawn the local police’s attention. In 1998, he purchased a shop in a mall on Ho Chi Minh Sarani, one of the prime market areas in the city, and set up a readymade garments business. At the same time, he also launched a restaurant at a posh area in south Kolkata which the sleuths believe is still running. In 1999, he got married and registered a company named AB Creations Private Limited.
An officer with the detective department of Kolkata Police said, “It is next to impossible to nab a don in this city unless he commits a crime or mixes with the mafia here. If he disguises himself as a businessman, he will naturally never attract our attention. It would have been possible only if the Mumbai Police could have traced his calls using the Hong Kong SIM card from here and informed us.”
In 2000 after a call from Rajan, Vicky returned to Mumbai and began to extort builders, gold and diamond jewellers and leading doctors. The Mumbai Police registered cases against him after 26 complaints from the victims.
However, he managed to escape from Mumbai again.
Luck ran out for Vicky when he was arrested by Delhi Police in 2005 while attempting to extort businessmen. He remained in Tihar Jail for five years, but managed to move to Kolkata after jumping bail.
Investigators have found that to avoid detection, Vicky never used any contact in Dubai but obtained a SIM card from Hong Kong with which he would run his “extortion business” from Kolkata. Except for Rajan, even his gang members in Mumbai never knew that he was operating from Kolkata. Sitting here, Vicky expanded his extortion business not only in Maharashtra but also in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Rajan even gave him the task of killing Dawood during his daughter’s wedding but Vicky could not carry it out owing to the tight security arrangements made by the D-Company.