KOCHI: The Crime Branch probing the sensational beauty parlour shooting case in which unidentified persons opened fire at a salon of actor Leena Maria Paul in Kochi has identified the henchman who was entrusted by underworld don Ravi Pujari with the act. However, Saleem of Changanassery who took the task from Ravi Pujari for threatening Leena and extorting money from her has left the country.
According to the case, on December 15 last year, two unidentified persons fired gunshots at the beauty parlour located at Panampilly Nagar. Later, it was revealed that underworld don Ravi Pujari was behind the act for extorting money from the actor. The Crime Branch, after taking over the probe, identified and arrested Bilal of Aluva and Vipin of Kochu Kadavanthra who fired the gunshots.
The arrest of duo led the Crime Branch to the person who hired them for the act. “Our probe has identified Saleem of Changanassery as the man who took the ‘quotation’ from Ravi Pujari’s gang for the act. Though Saleem is from Changanassery, he mostly operates in Kasaragod and Mangaluru areas where Ravi Pujari’s gang is active. Saleem provided pistols and money to Bilal and Vipin and directed them. Another Ernakulam native, Ajas, provided local facilities to Bilal and Vipin, recced the area and guided the duo to the beauty parlour,” an officer said.
Both Saleem and Ajas left the country after the arrest of Bilal and Vipin in April this year. “Even before we could nab the duo, they managed to leave the country. Lookout notices have been issued against both. We are also trying to identify the country where both are still hiding after which we can approach the Interpol for their detention and extradition,” the officer said. Meanwhile, there were reports that Ravi Pujari jumped bail to escape from Senegal where he was detained in a cheating case.
Police agencies in various states are trying for Ravi Pujari’s extradition. “We have no information about his escape from Senegal. From our part, we have sent all documents related to the case to Senegal through the Government of India for his extradition. All documents were translated into French before dispatched,” the officer added. Meanwhile, the Crime branch also suspects the involvement of a gang based in Perumbavoor as one assailant worked for them.