Fugitive notorious gangster Raviprakash Sulya Pujari alias Ravi Pujari, who was flown back to India in the early hours of Monday has been sent to police custody till March 7. Pujari was wanted for crimes like murder and extortion in several cities of Karnataka and Mumbai where as many as 100 cases have been registered against him.
Before his arrival, a heavy security blanket was placed all over Bengaluru’s Kempe Gowda International Airport by a team of officials including senior IPS officers who were there waiting to arrest him. After a long wait, Pujari came out of the Air France aircraft after all passengers de-boarded the aircraft. Pujari who had been on the run for nearly two decades was arrested in South Africa last week.
The Karnataka Police have 39 cases against him having as many as 36 cases registered against him in Mangalore, 11 in Udupi and one each in Mysuru, Hubli-Dharwad, Kolar and Shivamogga.
Apart from the Karnataka police, Mumbai Police has a total of 49 cases registered against him of which 26 cases are under the stringent MCOCA. There are around 75 cases of extortion registered against him in Gujrat.
Pujari is known for being an underworld don who operated out of Mumbai during the ‘90s and is a former aide of Chhota Rajan. He first struck the headlines in 2000 when he started extorting from well-known Bollywood personalities and builders. He was also involved in an attempt to murder case, aimed at killing a prominent lawyer of Mumbai. The police had issued a Red Corner notice against him in 2002.
Reportedly, Pujari had settled in Senegal after Rajan was arrested from Bali, Indonesia in 2016. Before he was arrested, he had established himself as a hotelier with a different identity and was allegedly running his underworld racket from Senegal.
According to sources in Indian Intelligence, Pujari, who was hiding with a false identity of Anthony Fernandes, a Burkina Faso passport holder was located in a remote village in South Africa.
After he was arrested in Senegal in January 2019, he fled to South Africa. However, he was held again on Saturday. Pujari had filed an application before the Supreme Court of Senegal that he was not the person that India was looking out for. However, the intelligence agencies in coordination with Senegal authorities said that the noted gangster was trying to mislead investigators.
After that, the Supreme Court of Senegal rejected the plea last Wednesday in which Pujari had pleaded that he should not be extradited to India. Later on, a team of the Karnataka Police with the help of South African authorities and Senegal police detained Pujari.