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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Ahmedabad: DCB ‘intends’ to probe 14 other ‘serious cases’ against Pujari

Gangster Ravi Pujari was brought to Ahmedabad for an investigation in the attempt to murder case of an independent councillor Pragnesh Patel in Borsad town of Anand in 2017.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
July 21, 2021 1:22:01 am
Ravi Pujari at the Crime Branch office, Ahmedabad. (Express photo)

A day after getting the custody of gangster Ravi Pujari and bringing him from Bengaluru, the Ahmedabad City Police’s Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) officers on Tuesday claimed that they intend to investigate 14 other “serious” cases, including extortion and threat calls to politicians, businesspersons and a journalist, lodged against him in Gujarat.

Pujari was brought to Ahmedabad for an investigation in the attempt to murder case of an independent councillor Pragnesh Patel in Borsad town of Anand in 2017. According to police, two hired assassins — Suresh Pillai and Mahmad Sabir — opened fire at Patel on January 13, 2017 in Borsad. Pujari and Patel’s political rivals — Chandresh Patel and Shyamgiri Goswami — were allegedly involved in the conspiracy.

Tuesday evening, the gangster was produced before a court that remanded him to seven-day police custody.

Pujari has been named in 21 criminal cases lodged in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat, Anand town, Borsad town, Navsari, Pardi and Vagra of Gujarat, of which 14 “serious crimes” are being investigated by the Ahmedabad DCB. Overall, Pujari faces over 200 criminal cases of murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and extortion in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Gujarat.

According to police, the 14 criminal cases include threats made to Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Amit Chavda and Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil and Alt News co-founder and journalist Pratik Sinha.

Extortion cases are of Rs 25 crore from Rupinder Singh Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), also known as Amul, Rs 25 crore from builder Arvind Patel, Rs 5 crore from businessman Paresh Patel, Rs 5 crore from business group RK Zaveri and Sons, undisclosed amount from builder Mukesh Modi, rs 5 crore from Grand Bhagwati Hotel owner, Rs 25 crore from Sanghi Industries Limited, undisclosed amount from Balaji Constructions Group, undisclosed amount from HN Safal Realty Group, Rs 5 crore from Gala Infrastructure Private Limited and Rs 5 crore from businessman Rimpal Patel.

“Ravi Pujari was wanted in an offence registered in Borsad town of Ahmedabad in 2017 for attempt to murder and under Arms Act. He has been brought to Ahmedabad on transfer warrant. Pujari is an infamous don and criminal who has been named and wanted in several extortions and other criminal cases among which 21 are registered in Gujarat,” said Prem Vir Singh, additional commissioner of police, Ahmedabad City Police.

“We will produce him in court and ask for remand. We will interrogate Pujari in the 2017 attempt to murder case conspiracy… how the main accused contacted Pujari, whether the payment was made to him and how many of his accomplices are currently active in Gujarat and how did they procure weapons. While Pujari was on the run, who all helped him and where did he stay, all this will be probed,” Singh said.

Pujari was arrested in Senegal, a west African Country, in February 2020 and brought to Bengaluru through an extradition process. According to Ahmedabad DCB, Pujari was believed to be living in Australia, Ghana, Senegal and Burkina Faso during his fugitive phase.

The crime history of Pujari, a native of Udupi in Karnataka, dates back to 1987 in Mumbai with an attempt to murder case and he allegedly did committed his first murder in 1993 by killing a police informant.

According to police, Pujari made the threats and extortion calls to businesspersons and politicians in Gujarat between 2016 and 2017.

“The accused was using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) process to make calls to influential people in Gujarat to make extortions and threats,” said Chaitanya Mandlik, deputy commissioner of police, Ahmedabad DCB.

According to police, Pujari threatened journalist Pratik Sinha on phone to allegedly “not write much”, GPCC president Amit Chavda to not speak about the attack on councillor Pragnesh Patel and Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil to not speak against BJP or Narendra Modi.

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