The elusive gangster Ravi Pujari is once again trying to give the Karnataka Police the slip and this time, he is trying his hand through a legal route. Pujari was arrested on January 19 by the West African police in Senegal after intimation from their Indian counterparts. After his detention, Pujari was to be brought back to India. However, in a new turn of events, the gangster has approached the Senegal authorities, alleging that his name is Anthony Fernandez.
Ravi Pujari's lawyers have written to Senegalese authorities that Ravi Pujari is a citizen of Burkina Faso citizen and is named Anthony Fernandes, TOI reported. The External Affairs Ministry is coordinating Ravi Pujari's extradition and is now trying to prove his identity. The Ministry had earlier sent dossiers of Ravi Pujari's criminal history and gang-related activities to the Indian embassy in Senegal.
Poojari’s file contains details of the 49 charges registered against him and 13 red-corner notices issued by Interpol to the Senegal authorities.
According to the TOI report, the Indian Embassy has sought more time to prove Ravi Pujari's identity. The police in Karnataka and Mumbai are now planning to submit DNA samples of his family members to prove his identity. His sisters, Jayalaxmi Salian and Naina Pujari, who live in Delhi, are likely to provide DNA samples.
Ravi Pujari's wife and three children, too, have secured Burkina Faso passports and proving their identities may end up delaying the extradition process, the report added.
Last week, the Mumbai police sent the gangster's dossier containing the details of 49 offenses, 18 of which are under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. The Karnataka Police, too, has listed 36 offenses against Pujari in Mangaluru, 11 in Udupi and 36 in Bengaluru.
Ravi Poojari is wanted in a battery of cases, including making ransom and threat calls to Bollywood actors, politicians and other prominent personalities. He has been on the run for several years now.
Ravi Poojari describes himself as a 'patriotic' underworld don. He was reportedly living out of Australia until about three years ago.
He has made several threatening phone calls to prominent persons, including activist Shehla Rashid, politician Jignesh Mevani and Bollywood singer Arijit Singh.
Several politicians from Karnataka and Kerala have also claimed that they have received threat calls from the gangster. This includes Karnataka MP DK Suresh, Kerala Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala and Karnataka Congress MLA Tanveer Sait, among others.