Muthappa Rai dead at 68

May 15, 2020 08:13 am | Updated 10:17 am IST - Bengaluru

Muthappa Rai

Muthappa Rai

Former underworld don Muthappa Rai, 68, who had turned a social activist in the recent years passed away in the wee hours of Friday.

He was suffering from cancer and was hospitalised for the past few days. He had recently held a press conference where he talked about his ill health and described himself as "a dying man".

Starting his career as a clerk in Vijaya Bank, Muthappa claimed to have accidentally turned to a life of crime in Bengaluru to protect his business — a bar and restaurant — from the onslaught of the underworld in 1980s. Credited to be the brain behind the murder of the then reigning don of the city M. P. Jayaraj, he steadily rose in the underworld and was once linked to Dawood Ibrahim.

He was attacked when he made an appearance in a city court in 1994 but survived, and fled to Dubai in 1996. Though he was then helped by Dawood Ibrahim, he slowly gravitated towards the "Hindu faction" and reportedly helped Indian security agencies fight Dawood Ibrahim's faction, intelligence sources said.

He was arrested and extradited to Bengaluru by Dubai authorities in 2002 where he stood trial for a total of eight cases including the murder of builder Subbaraju in 2001. However, he was eventually acquitted of all charges for want of evidence.

In 2008, Muthappa announced he was turning a new leaf and started to Kannada organisation "Jaya Karnataka". Living in a heavily guarded palatial house in Bidadi, Muthappa described himself as a businessman involved in the real estate sector. He was elected chairperson of Karnataka Athletics Association in 2018. There has been no case against him alleging any criminal activity since he returned to India extradited from Dubai in 2002. Though there were reports of his keenness to enter the political fray, it never materialised.

He is survived by his wife and two sons. The last rites will be held at his residence in Bidadi on Friday afternoon. Due to restrictions imposed to curtail the spread of COVID-19, only his family members will participate.

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