Home Editorial After Chhota Rajan, Ravi the patriotic mafia returns to India

After Chhota Rajan, Ravi the patriotic mafia returns to India

After Chhota Rajan, it’s Ravi Pujari who has returned to the Indian soil. Politically connected and having rightwing ideologies, many suspect that the arrival of Rajan and Pujari are well planned. A court in Bengaluru remanded him to police custody till March 7, hours after he was brought to India from Senegal. Pujari is accused of murder, kidnapping and extortion. A team of officials including senior IPS officer’s escorted Pujari from an Air France flight. However, India doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Senegal but our intelligence got him back to India because of our bilateral understanding. Pujari has more than 200 cases registered across the country including 97 cases in Karnataka alone. He was arrested in Senegal in West Africa in January 2019, but he jumped bail and fled to South Africa where he was allegedly involved in drug trafficking and extortion rackets. Pujari was hiding under the identity of Anthony Fernandes, a Burkina Faso passport holder and was located in a remote village in South Africa. On a tip-off from India’s external intelligence agency, the Senegal police flew to South Africa and arrested the 52-year-old gangster.

Ravi Shulya Pujari was born in Udupi, Karnataka. He has two brothers and one sister. He is father of two daughters and one son. He came to Mumbai in his teens and started working in a restaurant. He remained a small time criminal till he killed rival Bala Zalte after which he made his identity in the underworld. He started his unlawful activities at Andheri, Mumbai. Those days, gangs of Dawood and Chhota Rajan were very active in Mumbai. Chhota Rajan got impressed with this newcomer and gave him entry in his gang. Rajan mentored Ravi in the underworld syndicate. Soon, he became the right hand person of Rajan. In the late 1990s, Pujari moved to Dubai to set up his own business. He earned money through extortion of real estate builders, owners of the hotel etc. In the mid-1990s, his men shot Om Prakash Kukreja of Kukreja builders in his Chamber office. Eight years later, a Navi Mumbai builder, Suresh Wadhwa escaped an assassination attempt by ducking under his office desk. When Chhota Rajan split with Dawood Ibrahim after the March 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai, Guru Satam and Ravi Pujari cast their share with him. The trio set up base in South East Asia and continued their operations. While Rajan relocated to Kuala Lumpur, where a powerful local mafia protected him, Satam parked himself in Hong Kong while Poojari travelled extensively to South East Asia supervising the gang’s operations.

Satam and Pujari were trusted aides of Rajan, until a futile attack was made on Rajan’s life in Bangkok by a team sent by Karachi-based Chhota Shakeel, Dawood’s right-hand-man in September 2000. After the attack, Chhota Rajan was suspecting the involvement of his own people. Rajan’s sharpshooter called Rohit Verma who was killed in the Bangkok created misunderstanding between Rajan, Guru Satam and Ravi Pujari. Rohit Verma who was a small-time robber raised as sharp shooter, managed to be the right hand of Rajan. Angry Rajan got his own people and his associates like Vinod Shetty and Mohan Kotian were brutally murdered at Panvel and Bengaluru respectively by Rajan’s shooters in India. Unable to convince Rajan about their loyalty, Guru Satam and Ravi too separated and set up their own respective gangs. Both of them started operating from different world capitals.

Thereafter, Rajan became less active and his wife was allegedly carrying on extortion on behalf of him. Sujata Nikhalje got arrested by Chembur cops in several such cases. Devastated Rajan got busy bailing out his wife. His daughters were at the peak of their studies. Don had to tame down in such situations around him. Moreover underworld activities in Mumbai became difficult. His younger brother Vijay Nikhalje got into politics and during 2014; he rendered his support to the BJP. There was a rumour that because of this support, Chhota Rajan was tactically brought to India, since he returned his family having holiday time with him. He has been provided with a television in his cell, he plays loud music in it and this has been troubling many inmates. He is also provided with all sort of facilities from food to clothing, his family frequently visits him. Chhota Rajan’s deportation and arrest was a big political plot. Rajan, 60, is facing more than 70 criminal charges. The Indonesian police in Bali arrested him on October 25, 2015.

Dawood, who is believed to be out of Karachi somewhere in Pakistan and is sheltered by the country’s security forces round-the-clock, is likely to be succeeded by one of his brothers of whom Anees Ahmed is the front-runner. But keeping all the control in his own hand. Dawood’s trusted lieutenant Chhota Shakeel, often referred to as the gang CEO, has many connections in India. Dawood made his empire tech savvy. His return to India seems to be very difficult as he is one of the richest person in Pakistan and is also a mastermind in Pakistan’s act of creating unrest in India. Ravi Poojari always maintained that his mission was to eliminate both Dawood and Chhota Shakeel.

Ravi Pujari’s wife Padma and his 24-year-old son were detained at Mumbai international airport and the duo was deported to India. Padma was on a red corner notice. Former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma and now a Shiv Sena worker had arrested Padma in 2005 in a fake passport case. Padma had forged documents to obtain her passport and those of her two daughters. After a month, she was released on bail, but she fled the country within six months by secretly making another passport from Mangalore in the name of Sridevi Pujari. Since then, a lookout notice was issued against her. Padma got bailed out again and she and her kids are already having their life on Indian soil. Both the families of Rajan and Ravi will have new life on their own soil. Now it would be interesting to see who and when and how would Dawood be brought back to India.

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