Mumbai man held for passing on hoteliers’ numbers to gangster

Navi Mumbai resident Ravindra Pujari was arrested by Mumbai police’s Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC), an official said. (Representational Image)

A man has been arrested for allegedly passing on numbers and details of hoteliers to gangster Suresh Pujari to enable the latter to make extortion calls, police said Saturday. Navi Mumbai resident Ravindra Pujari was arrested by Mumbai police’s Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC), an official said.

According to AEC officials, on October 25 a Mumbai restauranteur had received a call from the gangster, who asked him to pay Rs 10 lakh as “good luck for Diwali”. When the builder expressed his inability to pay citing slow business, the gangster reportedly threatened to kill him, an official said. Following repeated threats, the restauranteur approached the Mumbai’s police crime branch and the investigation was subsequently handed over to the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC).

During the course of investigation, police found that Pujari had secured the complainant’s mobile number with the help of Ravindra, who earlier managed small-time hotels and dance bars.

“Ravindra reportedly had suffered financial losses last year and was in need of money. He had come in touch with Suresh Pujari and had volunteered to provide details of businessmen who were likely to pay extortion money, in exchange for a commission,” Ajay Sawant, Senior Inspector, AEC, said. Over the last year, the accused had reportedly provided details of several restauranteurs, many of whom he knew personally, to the gangster, police said.

Ravindra was arrest and sent to police custody Saturday. The police said they were interrogating him to find out who else was in touch with the gangster, who is believed to be operating from outside the country.

According to police, ever since the detention of gangster Ravi Pujari in Senegal earlier this year, the number of extortion calls from Suresh Pujari has gone up. Suresh, police said, has in the past worked with Ravi Pujari - the two are unrelated.