Twenty-two months after he was extradited to India from Senegal, gangster Ravi Pujari is set to be finally brought to Mumbai from Bengaluru before December 10. A court in Bengaluru last Friday allowed an application by the Anti Extortion Cell of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch, seeking to bring the gangster to the city. The court allowed the Crime Branch to take him to Mumbai for 10 days anytime before from December 10 in connection with a case of conspiracy to allegedly kill MNS leader Raju Patil in 2015.
The police had moved an application before Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge S R Manikya in Bengaluru stating that framing of charges in the conspiracy case has been pending before a court in Mumbai.
The trial against six persons named in the case is already over and the special court is set to pronounce its judgment in December. However, since Pujari was away for all these years, though he has been named as a wanted accused, his trial will be carried out separately.
The special court judge, who is presiding over the trial in Mumbai, recently issued a letter requesting the Bengaluru court to issue directions to jail authorities to handover of Pujari’s custody to the Mumbai Police.
Pujari’s lawyer, however, has filed an objection and contended that the case for which his custody is being sought was not mentioned in the extradition order.
He said that a writ petition, seeking Pujari be transferred to the custody of Mumbai Police and Kerala Police once trials in Karnataka are complete, is already pending before the Karnataka High Court.
Additional Sessions Judge S R Manikya observed, “As per the letter written by the special judge, Bombay, there is a case pending before the special court against this accused and that is to be tried by the learned sessions judge for proceeding with the trial. The framing of charge has become necessary and for that purpose, the presence of the accused is very necessary. Hence, he prayed for the issue of consent letter or issue of warrant to produce the accused. When such being the circumstances, if the consent letter for production of the accused is not issued, the progress of the case will be hampered and the case cannot be concluded.”
The court added that if the accused was permitted to attend the proceedings, no harm would be caused to him. Following this, he ordered that Mumbai Police be allowed to take custody for 10 days.
Crime Branch officers were tight-lipped about when they will bring Pujari to Mumbai. “Soon after Diwali, we will get him to the city,” a senior officer said.
In Mumbai, Pujari is accused in at least 49 cases. Of them, 26 have been lodged under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. Red Corner Notices have also been issued against him in at least 11 cases.
Eventually, the Mumbai Police charged Pujari in 19 cases, as some—where gangster Chhota Rajan was also accused—were taken over by CBI. Pujari was part of the Rajan gang before he forming his own. The charges against Pujari range from murder to extortion. They include the murder of Om Prakash Kukreja and making extortion calls to celebrities.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines