BENGALURU: Wanted for 18 years, gangster Bannanje Raja is finally in the custody of the Karnataka police.
A special team of six police officers brought him from Morocco to Bengaluru on Friday. The team included Udupi Superintendent of Police Annamalai. Raja is allegedly involved in 44 cases across the state.
Pratap Reddy, Additional Commissioner of Police (West), led the team, a statement from DG&IGP Om Prakash said.
The team took an Air India flight from Delhi at 1.30 pm and landed at Bengaluru’s Kempe Gowda International Airport at 4 pm.
In Bengaluru, Raja was taken to a special room near the CISF cabin. Airport and immigration officials completed the paperwork there.
The police team then flew him to Belagavi to produce him before a court in connection with the 2013 murder of R N Nayak. He was then taken to Udupi, where he will remain in policy custody till August 28. The custody was granted by Principal District and Sessions Judge P Krishna Bhat.
India got Raja extradited by submitting details of cases against him in a court in Morocco. Raja was arrested by the Morocco police on February 12. The Indian Embassy, with the CBI’s Interpol division, completed the extradition.
Haling from coastal Karnataka, Raja had left for Dubai in 1996. He was then part of what was called the Malpe gang, notorious for its brawls.
Accused of criminal activities since his college days, Raja allegedly killed Kokkarne Kushala Shetty in 1991. He shifted to Bengaluru and was arrested there for possession of arms and ammunition.
He allegedly held fake passports in the names of Krishnakumar Kankanadi and Rahim Kaleel, issued in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Mangaluru. Raja is implicated in 44 cases of murder and extortion in India, and accused of possessing a fake passport in the name of Kumar Hemanth Hegde in Morocco. Raja had allegedly threatened Dubai-based hotelier Praveen Shetty and tried to extort `5 crore from him. The businessman had approached the police and assisted them in locating Raja after the gangster fled to Dubai from Mumbai, and subsequently to Morocco.