21-year-old Junaid Chaudhary, a humble dairy farmer's son from Bhagirathi Vihar in northeast Delhi, had a dream to rise above his station in life. He wanted to be known as the most feared gangster of the national capital.
Chaudhary, who was arrested for the second time on 7 June, went about fulfilling his ambition with a firm determination. During a series of interrogations by the police, he has revealed the meticulous way he went about his plan.
A few years ago, Chaudhary had noted down the phone number of Chhota Shakeel, a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim who is accused of masterminding the serial blasts in Mumbai in 1993, when it was flashed on a TV channel. Since then, the Class IX dropout kept trying to get in touch with Shakeel, sending him hundreds of messages. With the advent of WhatsApp, Viber and other messaging platforms, he doubled his efforts, until he heard back from his alleged mentor one day.
Desperate to prove himself, Chaudhary took on the assignment to kill Chhota Rajan, Shakeel's rival, who is lodged at the Tihar Jail. But first, he devised an ingenious plan to gain access to him.
Chaudhary told the police that he planned to assassinate Swami Chakrapani, the Ghaziabad-based chief of Hindu Mahasabha, last year. He was certain the killing, and eventual his arrest by the police, would land him in Tihar jail—one step closer of achieving his ultimate goal of killing Chhota Rajan.
Impressed by his plan, his mentor apparently sent him funds, with which he hired three accomplices and purchased arms and ammunition. But there was a minor glitch in his scheme.
The number that Chaudhary had used to stay in touch with Shakeel was already on the police's radar—it led to his arrest and imprisonment, before the Swami could be executed.
By October, Chaudhary was out on bail and back to working with his father. The police kept a close watch on him but was deceived by his behaviour into thinking that he had reformed himself. That it was all a way of hoodwinking the authorities became clear when Chaudhary was held once again a couple of days ago—this time for planning to kill Pakistani-born Canadian writer Tarek Fatah, known for his strongly anti-Muslim views.
Yet again, Chaudhary's aim to kill two birds with one stone flopped miserably: neither was his target of hatred finished off nor did he get any closer to Chhota Rajan.
Even as the police are investigating his motives, they are aware that Chaudhary cannot be held long for the nature of his crimes, and nor is he afraid of the security forces or the law. It remains to be seen if he will finally give up the pursuit of his goals after being defeated twice. Or perhaps Chaudhary thinks he may get lucky the third time.
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