A special team of Karnataka police on Friday brought underworld don Bannanje Raja from Morocco, scripting an end to the 18 years of challenges posed by the fugitive and his men.
For the first time in the history of Karnataka, the police have successfully brought a criminal who was operating from outside India. Raja, wanted in over 44 cases, including extortions, murders and attempts to murders, has been booked under the stringent Karnataka Organised Crime (prevention) Act (KCOCA) in the murder of R N Nayak, a businessman from Ankola in Uttara Kannada district, in 2013.
A special team consisting of Additional Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru City, Prathap Reddy, Udupi Superintendent of Police Annamalai and others, which had left for Morocco on August 10, arrived at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, from New Delhi at 3.50 pm. Raja was taken to the office of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to complete some formalities.
He was flown to Belagavi in the evening and produced before a special court. Judge P Krishna Bhat remanded him in police custody till August 28, sources said.
‘Suffering from diabetes’
Sources further said that Raja told the judge that he was suffering from diabetes and spondylitis. He also demanded that he be kept in a separate cell and not with other inmates. Judge Bhat directed the police to continue his treatment and told Raja not to dictate terms.
The police team held meetings at Indian embassies in Rabat, Morocco, and Paris besides taking the help of Interpol to take Raja into custody. “We will interrogate him about his involvement in various crimes. The interrogation will take place at an undisclosed location considering threats to his life from rival gangs,” DG&IGP Omprakash said.
Raja had committed a slew of crimes in Karnataka through his associates. The Intelligence Bureau has submitted a report that Raja’s associates have hatched a conspiracy to kill him as they think he would disclose their names during the interrogation.
Raja’s wife Sona, who lives in Dubai, is likely to arrive in Karnataka. Police believe that Sona possesses a fake passport and they are likely to arrest her as soon as she lands in India.
Raja was arrested by the police in Morocco on February 6. The Moroccan Supreme Court ordered the local police on August 6 to hand him over to India. The Interpol had issued a red corner notice on him in 2010.