BENGALURU: The process of extradition of fugitive underworld don Ravi Pujari has reportedly begun in the Republic of Senegal, where a special court will hear India’s plea to extradite Pujari on May 15, sources on condition of anonymity told TNIE.
“This is the first step towards Pujari’s extradition to India. He has the right to appeal in higher courts,” said the officer. Pujari, against who multiple Red Corner Notices (RCNs) were issued by the Interpol was arrested from a barber shop in Dakar in Senegal on January 21 by local police with the help of a ‘vital’ tip-off from the then additional director general of police, Intelligence, Karnataka, Amar Kumar Pandey.
The officer is currently posted at the State Human Rights Commission and is handling Pujari’s cases in Karnataka, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy had earlier announced.
A former aide of India’s most wanted criminal and master mind of 1993 serial Mumbai blasts - Dawood Ibrahim, Pujari has multiple criminal cases registered against him in Karnataka, Maharashatra, Gujarat and Kerala.
Karnataka police had sent a comprehensive dossier of over 15 criminal cases translated in French in which Pujari has been chargesheeted but has not stood trial to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Maharashtra, Gujarat and Kerala police have also sent files of chargesheeted cases against Pujari to the MHA. The files were further submitted to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
“The MEA had sent the police dossiers to Senegal, where they are being processed by the Justice Department.The case has been posted for hearing on May 15. The process may take some time as India does not have an extradition treaty with Senegal but under the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC) the extradition of the fugitive don can be drawn out between the two-member countries,” the source added.
Pujari’s lawyers have argued that he is Anthony Fernandez from Burkina Faso as mentioned in his passport and not the fugitive don. But the ghost of a 1994 murder case, of a builder in Mumbai in which Pujari was arrested and later enlarged on bail has allegedly got him in.
“Soon after being released on bail, Pujari had fled the country and went to South Africa before moving on to Dubai, Australia and back to West Africa. The Maharashtra police had approached the Interpol to issue an RCN against him. The RCN was issued and it contained Pujari’s fingerprint, which was collected from the time, when he was in prison in Mumbai.When Pujari was identified in Senegal in January this year his fingerprints were matched with the one in the RCN and they reportedly matched,” said the officer.
The 50-year-old don originally from Malpe in coastal Karnataka, who has been on the run for more than two decades has been chargesheeted in several criminal cases under concerned sections of the Indian Penal Code for extortion (384), kidnapping for ransom (364), murder (302) and criminal intimidation (506) among other IPC sections. There are 98 criminal cases registered against Pujari in Karnataka alone. out of which at least 46 are registered in Bengaluru.
Pujari was chargesheeted for his alleged involvement in a fatal shoot-out against builder Subbaraju in 2001 in Bengaluru.
In February 2007 on his alleged behest, an assailant walked into the office of Shabnam Developers in Jayanagar and shot down the office receptionist after mistaking him for Shabnam owner K Samiulla. There are more cases of extortion and shootouts at prominent builders and realtors allegedly by the henchmen linked with Pujari in the city, Mangaluru and Udupi.
Congress MP from Bengaluru Rural D K Suresh, Congress MLA Tanveer Sait and Kerala opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala have claimed that they have received threat calls from the gangster.