Former underworld don-turned-social activist Muthappa Rai (68) passed away at a private hospital in Bengaluru in the early hours of Friday. Rai, who was battling cancer for months, was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday night.
According to family sources, the former underworld don’s last rites will be performed at his residence in Bidadi in the afternoon.
“Muthappa Rai died at around 2 am on Friday; his final rites will be conducted at his residential premise in Bidadi. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, his final rites will be conducted only by his family members and no public will be allowed to attend the funeral,” a statement issued by the family read.
During a press meet at his bungalow in Bidadi in Bengaluru in January this year, former underworld don Muthappa Rai had announced that he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
In April, he was questioned by the Central Crime Branch officials over his alleged association with underworld don Ravi Pujari, who was extradited from Senegal in February this year.
On April 30, the former underworld gangster was admitted to a private hospital after his condition deteriorated, although he returned home later.
Who was Muthappa Rai?
Rai is a native of Puttur in coastal Dakshina Kannada district and was born in a Tulu-speaking Bunt family. He started his career as a bank employee in Bengaluru and later opened a dance club and restaurant along with wife Rekha. In 1994, he was shot five times by a gunman dressed like a lawyer at a Bengaluru court but survived.
In 2002, Rai was deported from UAE by the Dubai Police and subsequently interrogated by the Central Bureau of Investigation, Research and Analysis Wing, the Intelligence Bureau and the Karnataka Police for his alleged associations with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Years later, Rai founded a non-profit organisation ‘Jaya Karnataka’. He then became a realtor and entrepreneur.
The former gangster was also an accused in the murder case of Subbaraju, a builder, at Vyalikaval in Bengaluru in 2001. He was later acquitted by a court.
Besides being a businessman, Rai also acted in two films — Tulu movie ‘Kanchilda Baale’ in 2011 and a Kannada film ‘Katari Veera Surasundarangi’ in 2012 produced by BJP leader Munirathna. In 2016, filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma wanted to make a film titled “Rai”, based on the life of the former underworld don. Verma had also roped in actor Vivek Oberoi for the lead role but the movie is yet to be released due to production delays.
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