Mumbai: Underworld don Chhota Rajan's reach and influence runs far beyond his dark, criminal dens, and stretches right up to the jails of Maharashtra.
Transcripts of controversial taped conversations between Chhota Rajan and his henchmen, now in possession of CNN-IBN, reveal some shocking and intricate details of how Rajan runs his operations in the jails of not just Maharashtra, but across the country.
The transcripts suggest that Rajan not only decides which jail his men are sent to when they are caught, he can even get them transferred from one jail to another.
A conversation between Chhota Rajan and his right-hand man Vicky Malhotra, which was recorded by the Mumbai police on September 18, 2005, clearly reveals a pattern on which they operate their network inside the jails.
Chhota Rajan: Give me 15-20 minutes, I will call them and ask what is the matter.
Vicky Malhotra: Bhai all this is a very bad game. My God! I am telling you, bloody hell! What bhai? Now they are even trying to mess with our boy here. It's all so proper outside. Even the jails are in control. Everything is so perfect. Now 10, 20, 50 boys have gathered here, good boys are gathering here inside.
Chhota Rajan: I told them yaar, think a little. If you do such things, then we will be ashamed na? I have taken care of you for a year na? Rs 18,000 ke hisab sey per month?
Vicky Malhotra: So even I told him that I will take my entire company from here and go to Thane jail. Then he started saying no sahib no sahib.
In another conversation recorded on September 20, 2005, it becomes clear how Rajan's henchmen are planted in the jails.
Chhota Rajan: Arrey baba you guys don't do any lafda. Arrey follow the law and go to Yerwada.
D K Rao: Haan Yerwada, but bhai what I have been thinking is that Shiva na, I was thinking to send Shiva to Kolhapur. There we have all our people na bhai?
Chhota Rajan: Haan ya, send him to Kolhapur.
D K Rao: Yes bhai. We are talking to the jail boss on this one.
Chhota Rajan: Yes, toh once it is done, then just call me.
Yet another conversation between Rajan's two associates, D K Rao and Yusuf Bachkana, is really shocking. Yusuf is now an undertrial in a Bangalore jail and DK Rao is lodged in Mumbai's Arthur Road jail.
Yusuf Bachkana: Bhai do anything but make some arrangements for me to come there with you all.
D K Rao: Ya ya.
Yusuf Bachkana: Do something na bhai. Mine is eleven number, I want to come there.
D K Rao: Okay, okay baba. I will make arrangements to send your a warrant, you come here and then we will talk. I will do your warrant thing. Haan, one more thing, keep your cellphone on at around 12 or 1. Bhabhi has some work or else, you will spoil her work.
Maharashtra ministers like Siddharam Mhetre, Chandrakant Handore, Baban Rao Pachpute have also been named during some of these conversations. But whether they are actually involved in any nexus is still debatable.
It is, however, clear that it is his influence on various lawyers that makes Rajan gain such a strong footing.
Some of the lawyers who have been named in the transcripts include Advocate C K Talekar, Advocate Sejpal, Advocate Aabad Ponda and senior counsel Harshad Ponda (who is nicknamed daddy).
One piece of conversation between businessman Mahu Kutty and Chotta Rajan, recorded by the Mumbai Police, even names Public Prosecutor Rohini Wagh.
Madhu Kutty: Rohini bhi indirect setting kar rahi hai. That way she is very smart in setting up things.
Chhota Rajan: Okay, okay. Give me her number.
Madhu Kutty: Haan bhai, 98200xxxxx
Also named in these tapes are a builder, certain Diwan, and the owner of Provogue, who was charged in a huge cocaine haul last year. Both find mention in two separate conversations with Chhota Rajan aides Vicky Malhotra and DK Rao
Appa: Okay, okay. In the Jogeshwari site, I think I will give it to Diwan. Khali Diwan ko apna payment utar na chahiye.
D K Rao: I will arrange that for you with Diwan
Appa: Diwan is a little halkat. He is in direct touch with Rajan
Kishore: Tera kuch setting hai kya jhol jhal wala?
Vicky Malhotra: Arrey ya man. That Provogue guy na, whose brand ambassador is Fardeen Khan.
Kishore: Ya ya.
Vicky Malhotra: I am telling you that guy is my man, he is very nice.