Underworld don Ravi Pujari flown to Bengaluru from SA

Bengaluru (IANS) Underworld don Ravi Pujari, 52, was flown to Bengaluru from South Africa, where he was arrested a day before, police said on Monday.

"A four-member Karnataka Police team brought Pujari to Bengaluru in the wee hours of the day in an Air France flight via Paris after he was extradited from Senegal in Africa," City Crime Branch Deputy Commissioner of Police Kuldeep Jain told IANS here.

The police team was led by state Additional Director General of Police A.K Pandey and Bengaluru joint commissioner of police Sandeep Patil, a police inspector and a constable.

"Pujari will be produced in the first Additional City Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court in the city for judicial custody," Jain said.

Pujari was taken to an undisclosed place in the city from the international airport under tight security.

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According to the Indian Intelligence sources, Pujari was nabbed in a remote South African village where he was hiding with a false identity as Anthony Fernandes, a Burkina Faso passport holder.

"Pujari had jumped bail from Senegal last year and escaped to South Africa and got involved in big-time trafficking and extortion," sources said.

On a tip-off from the Indian intelligence, the Senegal police flew to South Africa last week.

Pujari, who parted ways with another underworld don Chhota Rajan and wanted in over 200 cases of heinous crimes, including murder and extortion, was detained with the help of the South African agencies.

The mafioso shot to notoriety in early 2000 when he started extorting huge amounts from famous Bollywood personalities and builders. He was involved in an attempt to murder case, aimed at killing a prominent lawyer of Mumbai.

Pujari's wife Padma and three children also fled India and some of them hold Burkina Faso passports. His son, who was recently married in Australia, reportedly holds an Australian passport.

Last year Pujari, living under the identity of Anthony, jumped bail from a Senegal court through fraudulent means. IANS had accessed the don's new passport. Pujari now goes under the name of Anthony Fernandes and is a citizen of Burkina Faso, a West African country, his date of birth is shown as 25.1.1961.

Pujari, a movie junkie influenced by Amitabh Bachchan's portrayal as Anthony Gonsalves in "Amar Akbar Anthony" was using the name Anthony Fernandes. This passport was issued on July 10, 2013 and is valid till July 8, 2023. The passport showed his profession as Agent Commercial which means that he is designated as a businessman 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.

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