Indonesia deports wanted Indian gangster

 Indian fugitive Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje is escorted by police officers for deportation.
Indian fugitive Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje is escorted by police officers for deportation.EPA

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AFP) - An alleged Indian gangster nabbed on Indonesia's resort island of Bali was deported and headed to India on Thursday after eluding authorities for years.

Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje's deportation, due earlier this week, was delayed after a volcanic eruption on a nearby island forced authorities to ground all flights from Bali for two days.

Nikalje was transferred amid heavy police guard from his holding cell to a military airport and departed for India late on Thursday, hours after the Bali airport reopened for flights.

"His plane has just departed, at around 9pm," a police source told AFP.

An official in charge at the airport declined to reveal the flight route or the exact location where Nikalje will be taken citing "safety precautions for the suspect".

The 55-year-old, known in India as Chhota Rajan, had been evading police in several countries for years, with Interpol flagging him as a wanted man back in 1995.

He was arrested in Indonesia earlier this week upon arrival from Sydney, following a tip-off from Australian police, who confirmed in September the fugitive had been living there under another identity.

Nikalje was the alleged former right-hand man of Mumbai crime kingpin Dawood Ibrahim, who is suspected of being behind the 1993 bomb blasts in the city that killed more than 250 people.

Nikalje later became Ibrahim's rival, accused of running one of several underworld outfits that had a grip on India's financial and entertainment capital in the 1980s and 1990s until a police crackdown.

Among other crimes, police accused Nikalje in 2011 of ordering the murder of a prominent Mumbai crime reporter, who was gunned down in a drive-by shooting the same year.