Mumbai Police Crime Branch files charge sheet against gangster Ravi Pujari in Gajalee firing case

The crime branch of the city police has submitted a supplementary chargesheet against former gangster Ravi Pujari on Thursday in the Gajalee Restaurant firing case, as the prime accused at whose behest the offence was committed.

It the first case in which the Mumbai Police had secured his custody in February this year for a probe after his extradition from Senegal last year. Pujari’s advocate Devanand Manerkar said the chargesheet has relied on a confessional statement recorded under a provision of the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) of a co-accused Vitthal Pujari. The co-accused had revealed Ravi Pujari’s role in the crime.

The case is among the 10 cases in the city it is investigating in which he is purportedly involved. On 21 October, 2016 Pujari’s henchmen had allegedly tried to extort the owner by visiting the Vile Parle restaurant and threatening a staffer with a pistol. The case was earlier with the Anti-Extortion Cell and was then later over by the crime branch. Seven accused had been arrested in the case, in which trial is yet to begin. Pujari had been named a wanted accused then.

An order issued by a special court in Bangalore in February had enabled the city police to take his custody and bring him before MCOCA court in the city on 23 February. To get this order, the police had produced documents before the Bangalore court of permission granted by Senegal authorities for investigation in his Mumbai cases and also a production warrant issued for his production before a Mumbai court.

Earlier, it had been denied his custody as Senegal authorities had permitted his investigation only in the Karnataka cases as only these had been mentioned while seeking extradition.

Pujari who was at large since 1994 was extradited in February 2020 from Senegal. He is now back in judicial custody in a Bangalore jail as his custody in various cases here ended.

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