Mangaluru, Feb 02, 2019: Ravi Poojari, an underworld don and a master extortionist wanted by the police in two states, was caught inside a salon in Senegal, West Africa, by the Senegal police a few days ago. Acting on a tip-off by the Karnataka police who had been tracking him meticulously, the Senegal police arrested him in capital Dakar.
Confirming the arrest and lauding the “relentless” work of the Karnataka police to nab him, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday said Poojari was arrested on January 19 and two days later, the Senegal government ordered handing over the fugitive to the Karnataka police.
“Assuming charge of the state we held a meeting with the DG&IGP Neelmani Raju and ADGP (Intelligence) Dr Amar Kumar Pandey. Their team of officials was entrusted with the task of nabbing the criminal,” Kumaraswamy told reporters on Friday.
Embarking on a massive manhunt, supported by the state government, Dr Amar Kumar Pandey and team began tracking the don since June 2018. When they failed to locate him, Dr Pandey sought the help of the National Crime Bureau, New Delhi to issue a ‘Red Corner’ notice.
The team achieved its first breakthrough by identifying his business ventures and partnerships with North Indian investors in the hospitality industry in West African countries like Guinea, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ivory Coast.
The team, according to the police, found that Poojari had changed his name to Antony Fernandes and managed to get the Burkina Faso passport for himself and his family members. Dr Pandey established a meticulous network at Burkina Faso which regularly fed him with details about Poojari’s movements.
After going off the radar for a while, Poojari was again traced in Dakar, the capital of Senegal and Dr Pandey immediately alerted Rajeev Kumar, Indian Ambassador to Senegal. Acting on the state police tip-off, Rajeev Kumar informed Senegal’s Ministry of Interior and the President of Senegal.
Tough on foreign fugitives operating from Senegal, Senegal President Macky Sall who had previously helped Italy and China nab their most wanted criminals, ordered the Ministry of Interior to arrest Poojari for having misused the opportunity provided by Senegal to carry out destruction and criminal activities in India.
The Criminal Justice Police who deployed their personnel near his house in Dakar observed his movements for two days and on January 19 three bus loads of policemen armed with modern weapons nabbed Poojari inside a salon and produced him before the local magistrate.
On January 21, the Senegal officials asked their Indian counterparts to produce relevant documents for the extradition of Poojari from Senegal to India.
Kumaraswamy has now authorised Dr Pandey to complete the diplomatic formalities and bring back Poojari to Karnataka for further interrogation and trial in several cases. There are 39 cases reported in Bengaluru city including the murder of Shailija and Ravi of Shabnam Developers on February 15, 2007, in Tilak Nagar. There are 36 cases against him in Mangaluru, 11 in Udupi and one case each in Mysuru, Hubballi, Dharwad, Kolar, Dakshina Kannada district and Shivamogga. In two cases in Mangaluru, his associates have been convicted by a court for life imprisonment and seven years rigorous imprisonment.
Poojari would choose his victims referred to him by his contacts in India. His targets were from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, and Gujarat, and included established doctors, real estate businessmen, jewellers, Bollywood personalities, Sandalwood personalities, politicians, mining barons and rich merchants.
Poojari used to make calls using Voice over Internet Protocol and Skype to his victims to extort huge sums of money. He would employ shooters to attack his victims with firearms to create a scare, and due to fear, his victims would end up paying the extortion money. Many have been killed and their families have come to streets because of the greed for money.