Gangster Ravi Pujari, on the run for the last 15 years, has been arrested in Senegal in West Africa, a source in the security establishment said Friday.
Security agencies got clues about his whereabouts following the arrest of one of his close associates in Mumbai recently, the source added.
Pujari, who allegedly ran an extortion syndicate targeting mainly builders in Mumbai, was held from a hotel in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, on January 22, a senior official told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
The Mumbai Police did not comment on whether the report was true.
The Indian Embassy got information about his arrest on January 25, the official said.
Pujari is facing dozens of cases of extortion and murder in various parts of India.
His trusted lieutenants, William Rodricks and Akash Shetty, were recently arrested by the Crime Branch of Mumbai Police in an extortion case.
The Indian authorities will now initiate the extradition process to bring Pujari back to the country, the official said.
As per the senior official, investigating agencies received information about Pujari’s whereabouts from Rodricks who used to be in touch with him over phone.
According to the police, Pujari, who hails from Karnataka, was initially associated with gangster Chhota Rajan, but he had also worked for fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Pujari reportedly parted ways with Rajan following an attack on the latter in Bangkok, said to be carried out by the Dawood gang, and formed his own gang.
Like Rajan, Pujari too tried to project himself as a ‘Hindu don’, and allegedly killed some of the accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case when they were out on bail.
He was known for threatening builders and celebrities for extortion. Filmmaker Mahesh
Bhatt had told Mumbai Police that Pujari threatened him, following which some members of his gang were arrested for conspiring to kill Bhatt.
Advocate Shahid Azmi, who was shot dead in 2010, had alleged that the Pujari gang had threatened him for representing terror accused. PTI