KARNATAKA

Mumbai dons eyeing city

It is said that the Mumbai underworld is investing crores of rupees in Bangalore, writes K.V. Subramanya

THURSDAY'S SHOOTING at a land developer's office in Tilaknagar police station limits has shown how the Mumbai underworld is trying to gain a foothold in the thriving real estate business in Bangalore.

Preliminary investigation has indicated that Mumbai underworld operator Ravi Poojari's hitmen killed the two employees of Shabnam Developers owned by the former corporator

Samiullah.

This is the third major reported crime involving Mumbai gangsters since 2001following the real estate boom.

Incidentally, Poojari is an accused in the sensational murder of realtor Subbaraju, who was shot dead at his office on Seshadripuram Main Road on January 5, 2001.

Thursday's shooting is significant as Poojari reportedly owned up to it alleging that Samiullah had links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

Though the intelligence agencies had information for the past five years that some realtors and builders in Bangalore were having business links with the Mumbai underworld, particularly with the Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel gangs, the police reportedly did not act.

A senior official, who earlier worked in the Anti-Terrorist Squad, told The Hindu he had prepared a list of some local builders and land developers who had nexus with the Mumbai underworld and submitted a report to the authorities concerned a few years ago.

He said the Mumbai underworld was investing crores in Bangalore through some local builders and realtors.

The Mumbai gangsters had also been intervening in settling disputes over prime properties in the city, besides buying lands at throwaway prices after threatening landowners.

According to the police, Subbaraju was shot dead by Mumbai sharpshooter Yusuf Bachkana in connection with the dispute over a property on Cunningham Road.

While Bachkana was convicted, the police could not arrest Poojari, the alleged mastermind.

In May 2005, officials of the Central Crime Branch (CCB) shot dead in an encounter Bachkana's brother Abdul Razack, said to be an accomplice of Chhota Rajan, in Ashoknagar. Razack, police said, was threatening B.V. Sampath, a landlord and a Congress leader from Jayanagar, into selling four-and-a-half acres he owned at Bilekahalli on Bannerghatta Road.

Though the market price of the land then was Rs. 1,400 a sq ft, Razack was demanding that Sampath sell it at Rs. 400.

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