Fenil and Bollywood

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Gangster Ravi Pujari’s men ransack UTV’s Bangalore office and leave a chilling warning for its boss
By Bangalore Mirror Bureau (July 14, 2009)

Ronnie Screwvala

Bangalore police are alarmed by an attack on a private TV channel’s office by six armed men who wanted to know the whereabouts of the company’s owner. The men claimed to be gangster Ravi Pujari’s associates.

DCP (East) M Chandrashekar said police is investigating why Pujari is targeting UTV owner Ronnie Screwvala. “We need to trace Screwvala’s previous relationship, if any, with the Pujari gang. A thorough probe is being conducted,” he said.

Screwvala is a big name in the TV and film industry. His company runs several channels and also produces films one of which was ‘Rang De Basanti’.

On Saturday, six persons barged into the UTV office on CMH Road at Indiranagar around 5 pm. Security guard Sathish and a job-seeker, Jamad, were in the office. Brandishing a pistol, one of the gangsters asked Sathish the whereabouts of Screwvala. When Sathish pleaded ignorance, the six broke windows and assaulted Jamad with a pistol butt.

According to the police, the attackers warned of ‘serious action against Ronnie if he continued to support Dawood’.

The gang handed a letter to Sathish that read ‘Last warning – contact Ravi Pujari’. It mentioned an international telephone number.

Six men asked the security guard about Screwvala’s whereabouts. When he pleaded ignorance, they broke windows and assaulted a job-seeker

Pujari men target UTV office

Sources said Pujari’s gang had called up UTV’s office in Mumbai too and left a similar message.

Pujari is wanted in Bangalore in several cases of extortion. “We keep getting complaints of such calls. Some are made from Bangalore, but using international calling cards of different countries to camouflage the origin of the call. It is difficult to trace such calls. Some calls are made using Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which also cannot be traced,” said a police officer.

In Mumbai, Screwvala could not be reached for his comments, but Deven Khote, founder-member and director of UTV, said, “I have no idea about the incident.”

Additional Commissioner (Crime) Deven Bharti said, “I am not in Mumbai. I have no idea about this incident. I will check.”

WHO IS RAVI PUJARI

Ravi Pujari

Ravi Pujari started his criminal career at Andheri. He is a school dropout, but speaks English, Hindi and Kannada. He was a small-time criminal till he killed Bala Zalte, a rival. He joined gangster Chhota Rajan who took a liking to him.

He moved to Dubai in the late 1990s and extorted from builders and hoteliers. They parted ways after Dawood Ibrahim made an attempt on Rajan’s life in Bangkok, Thailand in 2000.

Pujari is believed to be hiding in Australia now. He often calls up the police claiming to have targeted people close to Dawood or his aide Chhota Shakeel.



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