Mumbai police get gangster Ravi Pujari's custody till Mar 9

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(Eds: Adding quotes of Mumbai police) Mumbai, Feb 23 (PTI) Gangster Ravi Pujari was brought here from Bengaluru on Tuesday and produced before a special court which remanded him in the custody of Mumbai police till March 9 in a case of firing in 2016.

Earlier, Pujari was brought to India from South Africa in February last year after being on the run for several years and was lodged in a jail in Bengaluru.

Before being brought to India, Pujari had been deported to Senegal in West Africa following his arrest and later extradited.

A Mumbai police team on Saturday left for Bengaluru after a court in Karnataka allowed the gangster's handover in connection with the firing incident that took place at a restaurant in Vile Parle area here on October 21, 2016.

Following the incident, a case was registered under provisions of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

Pujari was brought to Mumbai from Bengaluru by road on Tuesday morning, a police official said.

The Mumbai police's anti-extortion cell, which is conducting a probe into the case, produced him before a special MCOCA court here.

Special Judge D E Kothalikar remanded Pujari in the police's custody till March 9.

Seven associates of Pujari are already in jail in this case, police earlier said.

Pujari, hailing from Udupi in Karnataka, ran an extortion racket from abroad that targeted businessmen and film personalities, they said.

Talking to reporters after the court order, Mumbai's Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Milind Bharambe said 49 cases have been registered against Pujari in various parts of the city, including on charges of murder, attempt to murder and extortion.

The official said the Mumbai police had submitted strong evidence against Pujari in connection with 10 cases before a Senegal court and requested for his extradition.

The Senegal court had passed the extradition order after lot of arguments with defence lawyer in the court, he said.

After the Karnataka court granted sanction for his handover, he was brought to Mumbai from Bengaluru, he said.

'He was produced before the Mumbai court where we got his custody till March 9 in one case (firing in Vile Parle in 2016),' Bharambe said.

Efforts are on to get his custody in connection with other cases also, he said.

The Mumbai police will now interrogate him and collect evidence as well as information about his associates and supporters, the official said. PTI AVI/DC GK GK