While underworld don Chhota Rajan is enjoying his “Achche Din” in Indian jail by getting VVIP treatment and all facilities, his gang member Ravi Pujari, who used to operate in Mumbai in the 1990s, has been arrested in Senegal. Pujari, who has an Interpol red corner notice issued against him, was on the run for several years and was reportedly travelling from Burkina Faso when he was detained by a West African police force. While talking about the arrest BJP MLA Santosh Raosaheb Danve asserted, “Arrest of such dreaded gangster like Ravi Pujari is an achievement for the government. The only agenda of our party (BJP) is to send all the gangsters behind the bars, be it local goons or national or international dons. As far as Dawood Ibrahim is concerned, he too will be behind the bar very soon as the Intelligence Bureau is doing their work with high speed.”
The fugitive gangster Pujari was earlier believed to be hiding in Australia. He is a school dropout and he started his criminal career at Andheri, Mumbai; Pujari was a small-time criminal until he killed Bala Zalte, a rival. He joined gangster Chhota Rajan who took a liking to him. He moved to Dubai in the late 1990s and extorted from real estate builders. They parted ways after Dawood Ibrahim made an attempt on Rajan’s life in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2000.
The notorious gangster Pujari has been wanted in dozens of cases of threat calls to Bollywood stars and other prominent personalities. He is believed to be having an Australian passport. He often called up the police claiming to have targeted people close to Dawood or his aide Chhota Shakeel. On February 13, 2016, over the controversy of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) protests, Ravi Pujari threatened to eliminate hardliner Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Last year, JNU student Umar Khalid, student activist Shehla Rashid, and Dalit leader and Gujarat legislator Jignesh Mevani had allegedly received death threats from Pujari.
From 2009 to 2013, Pujari threatened many Bollywood actors like Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Karan Johar, Rakesh Roshan, and Shahrukh Khan. Ravi Pujari threatened Shah Rukh Khan for his relationship with Karim Morani who is a friend and business partner of Shah Rukh Khan. Talking to AV about arrest of the notorious gangster, Additional Commissioner of Police Ravindra Sengaonkar commented, “The system didn’t give so much attention to these hooligans and they did all the robberies, loots, extortions and another sort of crimes and became the national and international dons, but now the time has changed since they have already damaged so much to our nation, the system has focused their eye on these dons. In result, some fled the country and some are behind the bars now.”
“We have almost finished rowdyism from Mumbai after Dawood, Abu Salem, Chhota Rajan, and Ravi Pujari. All the three have been arrested and are in jail now except Dawood. We also hope that the gangsters like these people would not be into existence in our country in the coming time. As a matter of fact, Dawood Ibrahim too will be nabbed very soon. His arrest is the security for common people,” he added.
Rajan, 55, on the other hand, is facing more than 70 criminal charges. He was arrested by the Indonesian police in Bali on October 25, 2015. After the Maharashtra government decided to hand over his dossier to the CBI on the eve of his deportation to India on November 6, 2015, reports began to surface that Rajan had spoken of a nexus between Mumbai Police officials and gangster Dawood Ibrahim, the main accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
Rajan and Pujari, both are considered to be Hindutva loving underworld dons, who follow rightwing ideology. In 2017 and 2018, various activists in India including students and MLAs filed police complaints that they were receiving death threats from Ravi Pujari asking them to stop criticising the Modi government. Within five years of Modi-BJP government, that too ahead of the general elections, both Rajan and Ravi’s return to India leads to many speculations. However, discussing with AV on the role of the Modi led BJP government making the country terror free, Congress MLA Ameet Subhashrao Zanak commented, “Since 2014, the BJP government and Modi has done nothing but given false promises and jumlebazi to the whole nation. They promised many things to the farmers which have been proven completely false.”
“Modi had used the name of Dawood Ibrahim during his rallies for 2014 polls just to grab votes; his intention was never to nab Dawood. It has been four and a half years now and still, nobody knows where Dawood is. This is a jumlebaaj government.”
However, PM Narendra Modi’s actual promise was to bring back Dawood and put him behind the bar. During 2014 election speeches, Narendra Modi suggested a zero-tolerance policy against terrorism. He urged the youth to elect a government that can do justice to the innocent victims of 1993 bomb blast while taunting the UPA government for their ineffectiveness to arrest Dawood! Was the promise made by Modi to extradite Dawood an election jumla to lure the voters? If not, then, how long all the innocent victims of 1993 blast or other terror activities in India have to wait to see Dawood behind the bar?
Criminal Lawyer Abbas Kazmi stated, “Neither BJP had any information about gangster Ravi Pujari nor has it played any role in the arrest, but it is taking the credit by default. It was South African police department who nabbed the gangster on the basis of their suspicion and then handed over to the Indian embassy.”
“Modi led BJP government is expert in doing jumlebazi and giving false promises to the people. Nobody has seen any activities done by Modi or his government which indicates that he actually wants to catch the most wanted don Dawood or he wants to make the country rowdies free. Dawood will never come in the hand; he can’t be nabbed, simply because nobody knows where he lives,” Kazmi added.
Retired ADJ of Police Meeran Borwankar said, “Dawood has full support of Pakistan government as he has full shelter of the Pakistan government, it is difficult to arrest him. Only on international intervention can make it possible to nab him.”