How a visit to a wedding led to the location of underworld don Ravi Pujari
New Delhi, Feb 01: A week back, a team of the Mumbai Police crashed into a wedding in Mangalore. They returned with one Akshay Shetty, a close aide of Ravi Pujari.
A few days prior to the arrest of Shetty, the Anti-Extortion Cell of the Mumbai Police had arrested William Rodrigues on the charge that he had provided the contract details to Pujari of a developer.
In a late night development on Thursday, the Senegal police in Western Africa detained underworld don, Ravi Pujari based on a tip of by the Indian agencies. The arrest of Pujari comes as a crucial time, when he had been upping the ante on extortions.
There was a lull in Pujari's operation following the arrest of his close aide Dasharath Shinde in 2017. However the Mumbai police learnt that in the past 5 to 6 months, Pujari's had resumed operations and Shetty had become the frontman for the gang.
For the sleuths getting to Shetty was the first priority. They learnt that he had set up a hotel in Udupi, which was being used as a front for the cartel. A team of the AEC then landed at the hotel, but he was not found there. Later it was learnt that he would be at a wedding venue, following which the team went there. After a bit of hide and seek and a six kilometre chase, the sleuths arrested Shetty.
Both Shetty and Rodrigues became crucial links that ultimately led up to Ravi Pujari. Both of them gave the agencies ample details about Pujari, which in turn helped in pin-pointing the location to Senegal.
There was a red corner alert issued against Pujari and he has been on the run since the past 15 years. The agencies had learnt that he had been travelling on a passport using the name Anthony Fernandez. He has operated in Thailand and later shifted to Australia, where it was widely believed that he was hiding.
However based on the interrogation by the police and further intelligence gathering, his location was traced to Senegal.
Following his arrest, he was placed under extradition detention at the Rebeuss Detention Centre at Dakar, Senegal, West Africa. Sources say that he was arrested by the Senegal police on January 22. He was running a restaurant in the capital city of Dakar which went by the name Namaste India.
He is wanted in a host of cases that range from extortion, murder and kidnapping.
Last month, the Mumbai crime branch had invoked the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against two alleged members of the Ravi Pujari gang. William Rodricks and Akash Shetty were arrested by the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) earlier this month for threatening a builder. Both are said to have given more details to the police and agencies about Pujari, which finally led to the agencies tracking him down.
Intelligence agencies are currently coordinating the operation and are getting more details on the detention in Senegal. Once these details are ascertained, the agencies would make a push for his extradition, following which he will be brought down to India.