Industrialist shot at twice by riders on two motorbikes after getting calls from Bangkok-based extortionist

The city’s underworld reared its ugly head when P. Dayananda Pai, well-known industrialist and member, board of management, B.M.S. Institute of Technology, and syndicate member of Mangalore and Manipal Universities, was shot at, allegedly by a local gangster, over a property row near the busy Ramakrishna Ashram junction five minutes past six on Tuesday evening.

Mr. Pai was being chauffeured towards the college from his Vasanthnagar office when the motorcycle-borne assailants rode up to his car and fired two rounds from both sides. The 65-year-old was not injured as his Bentley is bulletproof.

Police sources said there were two motorcycles with two men each, and they fired at the driver and the industrialist.

Threat calls

Police Commissioner B.G. Jyothi Prakash Mirji said just before the shooting, Mr. Pai got a call from a man who introduced himself as Hebbet Manja when his car reached the Lalbagh gate near MTR hotel. The caller warned him to settle a land deal near Devanahalli. When Mr. Pai asked what deal he was referring to, the man cut the call.

Within a few minutes however, Mr. Pai received another call from the man telling him his younger brother Satish was involved in the deal and that he should settle it. Before he could reply, the stranger cut the call yet again.

As Mr. Pai’s car descended the flyover and neared the junction, a bullet hit the window shield close to the driver Siddaraju while another hit the window near the backseat. The assailants then sped away.

Initially Mr. Pai did not even realise he was shot at and thought the car was hit by a stone. He later realised they were gunshots, asked his driver to rush to the college and called the police.

The shooting occurred exactly 10 minutes after Hebbet Manja, a Bangalorean now holed up in Bangkok, spoke to Mr. Pai warning him to settle the Devanahalli land deal.

When Mr. Pai ignored his calls, Manja is believed to have instructed his gang to execute the attack.

Confirming this with a regional news channel over telephone from the Thai capital, Hebbet Manja said the attack was a warning to Mr. Pai and that the next time the consequences would be severe.

Police protection

Senior police officials, including Police Commissioner Mirji, rushed to the college to take stock of the situation. Mr. Mirji said Mr. Pai, who commutes from his office to the college every day, has been provided with police protection.

He said the industrialist told the police that this was the first time that he had received threat calls. However, sources said this was the second attempt on his life. The car has been sent to the Forensic Sciences Laboratory.

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