ibnlive » World

Nov 04, 2010 at 10:08am IST

Chota Rajan aide held in Vietnam

Hanoi: A former Chota Shakeel Rajan gang member has been nabbed by Interpol in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Interpol in Hanoi has nabbed notorious gangster Prakash Pandey, a former sharp shooter of the Chhota Rajan, Dawood Ibrahim gangs.

He carries a reward of Rs 2 lakh and is a resident of Nainital in Uttarakhand.

A former Chota Shakeel Rajan gang member has been nabbed by Interpol in Hanoi, Vietnam.

PP is involved in fake Indian currency racket and also carried out sensational extortion in various parts of country including Delhi, Mumbai, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

He is expected to be brought to Mumbai in a day or two.

He had allegedly made extortion calls to actor Shah Rukh Khan.

He has also reportedly claimed that he had got ACP Rajbir Singh bumped off.

The man who identified himself as Bunty Pandey alias PP is not a new name in the underworld -

Pandey on Tuesday claimed that he was responsible for the ACP's murder and that his two henchmen were present at property dealer Vijay Bhardwaj's office, where Rajbir was found dead. He also claimed that Rajbir had threatened to kill him in the past, which was why he got rid of him.

Police sources confirmed that Rajbir's team - both when he was in the special cell and crime branch - had tracked Bunty's movements on several occasions, but the gangster always managed to give them the slip.

According to the police, Prem Prakash "Bunty" Pandey was with don Chhota Rajan, before he broke away to form his own gang, supervising shootouts and extortion rackets. He carries a reward of Rs 2 lakh and is wanted by the police in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Mumbai and Delhi.

The Uttarakhand police have declared the reward for his arrest and its special task force is working in tandem with the Mumbai police to catch the gangster. He is wanted in more than three-dozen cases of extortion and other heinous crimes and also for the low-intensity blast in Haldwani in early 2000.

Pandey is said to be a master of disguise, and so though the police in different states has gunned many of his associates down, he has been able to dodge arrest for the past 10 years. A few years back, the Uttarakhand police had managed to trace two of his girlfriends, but the don got a whiff of the raid and the girls managed to escape.

Apparently, he now operates from a distant location outside India via satellite phones and Internet. "We have learnt that Pandey has several girlfriends.”

His mobile surveillance threw up many names, including girls from Cambodia and Nepal," said a crime branch official, who has worked with ACP Rajbir Singh.

The don had an innovative way of trapping his victims. "Pandey used to lure his victims by placing newspaper advertisements, which invited fresh faces for a career in acting. He then abducted the budding actors for ransom," added the officer.

The gangster made his foray into crime in Almora district where his father, Laxmi Dutt Pandey, a former subedar, had settled at Khilonia village after retirement.

"Pandey started selling illicit liquor in Almora. He ran away from home after his mother died and his father remarried. He started with petty criminal activities and soon came into contact with the D-gang," said a senior officer of Uttarakhand STF.

Pandey got an opportunity to rise up the ranks swiftly when Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan fell out. He joined hands with Chhota Rajan and was believed to have executed the attack on Chhota Shakeel in Bangkok in August 2001, along with associates - Harish Shah and Bharat Nepali.

"The PP gang is synonymous with terror in Kumaon and other hilly districts. The gang has an excellent network of informers and is reaping riches from the property boom in Uttrakhand. Pandey's modus operandi is simple - he demands small sums, which these builders and businessman can afford to pay," said a Delhi-based businessman, who has invested in real estate in Uttarakhand.