Ravi Pujari
Ravi Pujari

New Delhi: Dreaded underworld don Ravi Pujari has been put on a flight to India from South Africa, where he was arrested recently.

Pujari, who parted ways with underworld don Chhota Rajan, had jumped bail in Senegal last year and had escaped to South Africa, where he was involved in big-time drug trafficking and extortion.

Pujari would be flown to Bengaluru and is being ferried to India by the Karnataka Police on an Air France flight via Paris.

Sources in Indian Intelligence said that Pujari, who was residing under the garb of Anthony Fernandes, a Burkina Faso passport holder, was nabbed in a remote village in South Africa.

Pujari, 52, is wanted in over 200 cases of heinous crimes, including murder and extortion; sources in Mumbai Police said that Pujari's arrest has not yet confirmed officially but the Ministry of External Affairs is in touch with its mission in South Africa.

The gangster first hit headlines in early 2000 when he started extorting huge amounts from famous Bollywood personalities and builders. He was involved in an attempt to murder case and an attempt to murder a prominent lawyer of Mumbai. Pujari's wife Padma and three children had also fled India and some of them hold Burkina Faso passports.

His son, who was recently married in Australia, reportedly holds an Australian passport. Pujari, a movie junkie influenced by Amitabh Bachchan's portrayal as Anthony Gonsalves in 'Amar Akbar Anthony,' was using the name Anthony Fernandes.

His passport describes him as a businessman who is running a chain of restaurants called 'Namaste India' in Senegal, Burkina Faso and neighbouring countries.

Pujari's lawyers in Senegal had argued in the court citing that he is Anthony Fernandes, a businessmen from Burkina Faso as mentioned in his passport and not a fugitive as claimed by the Indian Government.

This clearly indicates a collusion between top government functionaries of Burkina Faso and Pujari, in which an influential Indian businessman, who is his partner in a restaurant chain, may have played a role of conduit.

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Free Press Journal