Karnataka's underworld don Pujari traced, arrested in Senegal

Indo Asian News Service

Bengaluru, Feb 2 (IANS) Karnataka's wanted underworld don Ravi Suliya Pujari was traced and arrested at Dakar in West Africa's Senegal recently, said the state government in a statement on Saturday.

"Pujari, a notorious underworld criminal and extortionist, was traced in Senegal capital Dakar on January 19 and arrested on January 21 for extradition to India," said the official statement, based on a report from the state police intelligence.

Acting on a tip-off by the state police through Interpol, Pujari was caught inside a barber shop in Dakar and detained by its police for identification as he was masquerading under a new identity as Antony Fernandez with a fake passport from Burkino Faso.

"State Additional General of Police (ADGP) for Intelligence Amar Kumar Pandey kept track of Pujari since June first in Burkino Faso and later in Senegal where he shifted with wife and children and was operating a restaurant chain in partnership with locals," recalled the statement.

Though Pandey lost track of Pujari alias Fernandez in Burkino Faso, he found him subsequently in Dakar and alerted Indian Ambassador to Senegal Rajeev Kumar for arresting him with the help of the local police.

"The Senegal Interior Minister and its Director of Judicial Police arrested Pujari from a barber shop in Dakar and his original identity was found," said the statement.

Though it is 12 days since Pujari was arrested in Dakar, the state government, however, has no clue when he would be extradited to India and flown to Bengaluru or Mangaluru on the state's west coast where he operated.

"Pujari carried out his criminal activities across four coastal states of Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat since 2001, employing sharp shooters to attack targets for extorting huge sums of money," said the statement.

The don used to select the place of attack and targets for extortion from those referred by his contacts in India. His victims included rich doctors, real estate agents, business magnets, jewellers, actors from Hindi and Kannada films, mining barons, politicians and commodity merchants.

"Pujari's modus operandi was to use Skype and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for making calls from his hideouts abroad to contact potential victims and threaten them to cough up the ransom or face death in a movie style," added the statement.

--IANS

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