Ravi Pujari was living with new identity, Burkina Faso passport: Karnataka police

Bengaluru: Underworld don Ravi Pujari, arrested in Senegal on a red alert by Indian intelligence agencies, was living with a new identity, had got a Burkina Faso passport for himself and his family and ran a chain of restaurants in some West African nations, Karnataka police said on Friday.

“Ravi Pujari had obtained a new identity as Antony Fernadez and got a Burkina Faso passport for himself, his wife and children. Being a dreaded criminal and always afraid of his identity getting exposed, he ran away from Burkina Faso and his track was lost,” police said in a statement. It said Additional Director General of Police (intelligence) Dr Amar Kumar Pandey coordinated with the National Crime Record Bureau to expedite the Red Corner Notice to Interpol on the directions of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to ensure the arrest of the gangster, wanted in several cases in Karnataka, including extortion.

Pandey also succeeded in obtaining information about the chain of restaurants Pujari ran in partnership in several west African countries like Guinea, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ivory Coast, the statement said. After getting information about Pujaris presence in Senegals capital city Dakar, he alerted the Indian Ambassador in that country, Rajeev Kumar. Kumar got in touch with Senegal interior minister Aly Ngouille Nbiaye and the director of judicial police, Seydou Bocar Yague, the statement said.

On January 19, Senegal police received information about Pujaris presence in a barber shop and soon heavily armed policemen in three buses surrounded the place and arrested him, the statement said. On January 21, Senegal police confirmed his arrest. Pujari had hired shooters to attack his targets to create a scare, police said, adding, people used to pay up out of fear. There are 39 cases against Pujari in Bengaluru alone, including the murders of Shailaja and Ravi of Shabnam Developers on February 15, 2007, police said.

He has 36 cases against him in Mangaluru, 11 in Udupi, and one each in Mysuru, Hubballi-Dharwad, Kolar and Shivamogga, police said. The Karnataka government expressed its gratitude to the government of Senegal, especially the interior minister and director of judicial police, it said. Chief Minister Kumaraswamy earlier said that the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka played a leading role in getting Ravi Pujari arrested from Senegal. He said the arrest of the don was effected due to the ‘sustained efforts’ of Karnataka government officers, with the assistance of the central government and officials of the Indian Embassy at Senegal.

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