Extortion case: Prasad Pujari’s cousin nabbed in Mangaluru

Suresh Kumar

Suresh Kumar  

MCOCA invoked; 28-year-old in police custody till March 11

A cousin of fugitive gangster Prasad Pujari has been arrested in connection with an extortion case registered against him earlier this year.

The Crime Branch Unit VII of the Mumbai Police had on February 3 arrested Sunil Angane (55), a resident of Vikhroli, for allegedly extorting a builder in his area on Mr. Pujari’s behalf. The gangster had sent several messages on WhatsApp and also made WhatsApp calls to the builder, threatening to kill him if he did not pay ₹1 crore.

An officer said following Mr. Angane’s arrest, the police went through his bank account details and found out that ₹25,000 was sent to his account from Mangaluru in Karnataka. “We sent a team to Mangaluru to pursue this lead, and on Sunday, picked up Suresh Kumar (28), who is Mr. Pujari’s aunt’s son.”

The officer said after preliminary inquiries established that he was indeed working for Mr. Pujari, Mr. Kumar was brought to Mumbai on Monday and arrested. He was produced in Esplanade court, where he was remanded in police custody till March 11. The Crime Branch, soon after Mr. Angane’s arrest, had invoked the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act in the case.

“Mr. Kumar’s arrest is significant as he is a relative of Mr. Pujari and hence a trusted aide. Typically, gangsters favour their kin over everyone else and we suspect Mr. Kumar has crucial information about Mr. Pujari’s movements and activities. We are also finding out whether he was in any way connected to the attempt on the life of Shiv Sena leader Chandrashekhar Jadhav in December last year,” the officer said.

On December 19, a shooter allegedly acting on Mr. Pujari’s instructions had opened fire at Mr. Jadhav, who sustained injuries to his right hand. He was caught by eyewitnesses and handed over the police. The anti-extortion cell arrested four people, including the shooter, in the case.

“Mr. Pujari was using the December shootout to create fear among Vikhroli residents, including the victim, telling them that he had recently ‘given a chocolate’ to Mr. Jadhav and would not hesitate to do the same if the builder did not give ₹1 crore,” the officer said.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 10:51:21 AM |

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