New Delhi/ Mumbai: Mumbai’s once-dreaded ‘underworld’ don Ravi Pujari is now, well, underground. IANS has accessed the don’s new passport. He now goes under the name of Anthony Fernandes and is a citizen of Burkina Faso, a West African country, his date of birth is shown as 25.1.1961.
Pujari, a movie junkie influenced by Amitabh Bachchan’s portrayal as Anthony Gonsalves in ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ is using the name Anthony Fernandes. This passport was issued on 10.7.2013 and is valid till 8.7.2023. Passport shows his profession as Agent Commercial which means that he is designated as a businessman running a chain of restaurants Namaste India in Senegal, Burkina Faso and neighbouring countries.
Pujari’s lawyers in Senegal have been arguing in the court citing that he is Anthony Fernandes, a businessmen from Burkina Faso as mentioned in his passport and not a fugitive as claimed by the Indian Government. This clearly indicates a collusion between top government functionaries of Burkina Faso and Pujari in which an influential Indian businessman, who is his partner in restaurant chain, may have played a role of conduit.
The Indian Embassy in Senegal speaking to IANS from Dakar accepted that they were aware of his presence in the country but refused to share details on whether he has jumped bail or moved to a neighbouring country. Pujari was detained in Senegal in January this year on the request of Interpol.
His extradition process was to begin on May 15. However, a Senegalese filed a fraudulent complaint with the local police that Ravi Pujari aka Anthony Fernandes had cheated him of millions of dollars.
In fact, Ravi Pujari himself has got one of his own associates to file a false complaint against him. Earlier, Pujari had threatened Bollywood stars and even Gujarat politician Jignesh Mevani for extortion. There are 98 criminal cases pending against him in Karnataka and in Mumbai. The Ministry of External Affairs has been trying to persuade Senegal to extradite Pujari under the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.