Gangster Ravi Pujari, who was arrested by the Kerala Crime Branch in connection with the Kochi beauty parlour shooting case, was transported to Kochi on Wednesday night. Ravi Pujari, who was lodged in Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru, was brought by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to the Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery by 8.30 pm. He was brought as part of the probe pertaining to the December 15, 2018 shooting case where two men allegedly hired by Ravi Pujari, fired at a beauty parlour in Panampilly Nagar in Kochi, which is run by actor Leena Maria Paul. He is accused of trying to extort money from her. No casualties were reported in the firing. However, Ravi Pujari allegedly called actor Leena Maria Paul and threatened her.
On Wednesday night, after landing at the airport and escorted by high security armed officers, he was lodged at the Nedumbassery police station and on Thursday morning was shifted to investigators in Kochi. According to reports, it is yet unclear if he will be taken to the crime spot. Earlier, when the Crime Branch questioned Ravi Pujari in Bengaluru, he had reportedly confessed to the crime. It also surfaced that after the actor did not pay heed to the threatening calls aimed at extorting money from her, Ravi Pujari allegedly hired two men for the shooting to intimidate her. Investigation officials had retrieved a 0.32 automatic pistol and bullets from the duo. Crime Branch recorded Ravi Pujari's arrest this February.
After the incident, the Crime Branch had also started an investigation into the financial deals of the actor. Pujari has 39 cases registered against him in Bengaluru, 36 cases in Mangaluru, 11 in Udupi, and one each in Mysuru, Hubballi-Dharwad, Kolar and Shivamogga. The Maharashtra police has 49 cases registered against Ravi Pujari and 26 of them are under the stringent MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act).
Ravi Pujari, born at Udupi in Karnataka, was previously a close aide of infamous gangster Chhota Rajan. After a feud with Chhota Rajan, Ravi Pujari set up his own gang. Pujari is notorious for extorting money from actors and builders. He is also accused in various murder cases, including that of the dreaded don of Mumbai, Bala Zalte. For 15 years till 2020, Ravi Pujari was living in Senegal in South Africa by the name Anthony Fernandez. He was extradited to India on February 19, 2020.
Watch video of Ravi Pujari in Kochi: