Fugitive gangster Ravi Pujari landed in Bengaluru early Monday morning after he was arrested in South Africa and brought to India by a team of officials, including senior IPS officers from Karnataka, a top police official said on Sunday. He was extradited from Senegal.
Pujari, who is wanted in many cases including extortion and murder and has been on the run for over 15 years, was deported to Senegal, from where he had jumped bail last year, and extradited.
Pujari is known for being an underworld don who operated out of Mumbai during the ‘90s and is a former aide of Chhota Rajan. After he was arrested in Senegal in January 2019, he fled but was arrested again on Saturday in South Africa. He was involved in a major extortion and drug trafficking racket in South Africa.
A team of the Senegalese police and the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of the Mangaluru police captured Pujari in a joint operation. Thirteen red corner notices had also been issued against him by Interpol.
This comes after a year-long attempt by Ravi Pujari to evade Indian crime enforcement authorities through various means.
Pujari landed in Bengaluru in an Air France flight, according to the Deccan Herald. He landed amongst heavy police presence.
He will now be tried in Indian courts.
Born in Malpe, Karnataka, Pujari has been booked for crimes ranging from extortion, criminal intimidation, kidnapping for ransom and murder. In 1994, charged with a businessman's murder, he escaped while on bail and is believed to have first fled to South Africa, and then to other places.
The red corner notice was first issued in 1994, after the Maharashtra police approached Interpol.
There are 98 criminal cases registered against Pujari in Karnataka, out of which 46 are registered in Bengaluru.
In 2019, he claimed to be a certain Anthony Fernandez from Burkino Faso, with a valid passport up to 2023. However, the Indian police produced DNA evidence to prove that Ravi Pujari was indeed himself. Following this, he fled to South Africa.
(With PTI inputs)