Mumbai Feb. 24
Underworld don and an extortionist Ravi Pujari (52) with nearly 200 offences registered against him in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka was arrested by Senegal (West African nation) Police from South Africa and was handed over to the officers of RAW and Karnataka police, who brought him to Delhi on late Sunday evening.
On a tip-off from Indian external intelligence agency, the Senegal police air dashed South Africa last week and arrested Pujari. Sources in Mumbai Police confirmed that Pujari, wanted in over 200 cases of heinous crimes, including murder and extortion, was detained with the help of South African agencies, in a village in South Africa. He was brought to Senegal and was handed over to the Karnataka Police after completion of an extradition process. He will be brought to Maharashtra later.
The offences registered against Pujari include 49 offences registered by Mumbai police and 75 cases registered by Gujarat police, including a case of extortion threat to Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani and a sizable number of cases of extortion threats to bollywood film makers and 46 cases registered by Karnataka police.
The cases registered by the Karnataka police include: five major ones, including murder and attempt to murder, registered in Bengaluru. They include a murder of developer Subbaraju in 2001 in Bengaluru and a brutal attack in 2007, on a developer running “Shabnam Developers”.
Pujari was staying in Senegal since 2010. In 2011, Karnataka Joint CP (Crime) Alok Kumar, Bengaluru, and his team had almost traced the his whereabouts, including the phone numbers he was using. But due to some technical reasons the police did not get proper support from Interpol.
A host of cases of criminal intimidation under IPC section 506, criminal intimidation by anonymous communication under IPC section 507 and threatening to life to commit extortion of (IPC 387) have been registered against him in Girinagar, Sadashivanagar Mahalakshmi Layout, High Grounds and Magadi Road police stations in Karnataka. Most of the cases registered against him have been charge sheeted.
Pujari, a movie junkie influenced by Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan’s portrayal as Anthony Gonsalves in ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ was using the name “Antony Fernandes and was carrying a fake passport in the name of Anthony Fernandes issued in Burkina Faso, on 10 July 2013, which was valid till 8 July 2023.
The passport showed his profession as “Agent Commercial” meaning that he was designated as a businessman running a chain of restaurants “Namaste India” in Senegal, Burkina Faso and neighbouring countries. Earlier his lawyers in Senegal had argued in the court that he was Antony Fernandes, a businessman from Burkina Faso as mentioned in his passport and not a fugitive as claimed by the Indian Government.
The mafioso first came into news in early 2000 when he started extorting huge amounts from famous Bollywood personalties and builders. He was involved in an attempt to murder case, aimed at killing a prominent lawyer of Mumbai. Subsequently he, along with his wife Padma and three children fled India. His son who was recently married in Australia reportedly holds an Australian passport.
Pujari was arrested from a saloon in Dakar, Senegal on 21 January 2019 by local police. However, he jumped bail from Senegal and escaped to South Africa in June 2019. He was stated to be involved in big-time drug trafficking and extortion racket. He was once a right hand man of underworld don Chhota Rajan (now in custody of Mumbai Police) and had parted ways with him.