chhota rajan
Suspected Indian gangster Chhota Rajan is shown in this photograph taken in Bangkok on September 26, 2000.NWA/CC

Chhota Rajan's arrest last Sunday in Bali was preceded by an equally interesting development about a month ago – the gangster's brother-in-law, Rahul Walunj, was appointed by Modi's BJP as the deputy head of the saffron party's labour outfit, the Rashtriya Ekjut Kamgar Sanghatna.

Walunj was with the Shiv Sena before joining the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and is married to Rajan's wife Sujata. He was appointed as the vice president of the Sanghatna at an event at a hotel in Lower Parel, Mumbai.

The party legislator from Nagpur, Sudhakar Deshmukh, who heads the labour outfit, said that as Walunj has no criminal criminal background there was nothing wrong in his appointment, the Bangalore Mirror reported.

"There is nothing wrong in having Rahul on board. He was earlier with the Shiv Sena and has now shifted base to the BJP-affiliated union. He has no criminal record and why shouldn't he be given a chance," Deshmukh said.

Ironically, Maharashtra finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar was unaware of Walunj's connection with Rajan.

The report suggest that Walunj was appointed because of his stronghold in the state's labour sector and that his appointment holds the key to challenge its saffron ally, the Shiv Sena, which dominates the labour sector in the state. 

"The BJP is trying to consolidate its presence in the labour sector, in which its ally Shiv Sena has a formidable presence. The party needs leaders who have the courage to take on rival labour unions," the daily reported a BJP source as saying.

The appointment flies in the face of tall claims by its tallest leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of upholding moral values in Indian politics.

However, it has already faced backlash by AAP that is in power in New Delhi, national capital. "The BJP is talking about delivering clean politics but doesn't honour the same," the party's national spokesperson, Preeti Sharma Menon, said.

Rajan, former aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, was arrested from Bali airport in Indonesia on Sunday. He is wanted in over 75 crimes, including murder, extortion, smuggling and drug trafficking.