Belagavi, April 4 : A special court of Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) will on Monday pronounce the quantum of punishment for bus agent-turned-international gangster and fugitive underworld don Bannanje Raja and eight others in the shootout case of BJP leader and industrialist R.N. Nayak.
Bannanje Raja, known as ‘threat king’, is the ninth accused in the case. He is involved in several serious criminal cases in coastal districts of Karnataka, Bengaluru and Maharashtra involving murder, attempt to murder, kidnappings and extortion and others.
Special Court judge C.M. Joshi had reserved the order after pronouncing the accused guilty in the case on March 30. The court has acquitted the sixth accused Rabdin Pichai, eleventh accused Mohammad Shabandri, a resident of Bengaluru and 16th accused Anand Ramesh Nayak from Uttara Kannada from the case.
The second accused Jagadish Patel is from Uttar Pradesh, third accused Abhi Bhandagara from Bengaluru, Ganesh Bhajanthri from Udupi, K.M. Ismail from Kerala, Mahesh Achangi from Hassan, M.B. Santhosh from Kerala, Jagadish Chandraraj from Bengaluru, Ankit Kumar Kashyap from Uttar Pradesh.
The shootout had taken place on December 21, 2013 in Ankola of Uttara Kannada district. The police department had lodged the KCOCA Act against the accused and this was the first case registered under KCOCA Act in the state.
Special Public Prosecutor S.B. Puranik Math and Additional Public Prosecutor Shivaprasad Alva have argued against the accused representing the prosecution. Shivaprasad Alva had stated that through the judgment, the court has sent a good message to society. The police and prosecution have successfully persuaded the legal action against anti-social elements.
Asked whether he faced any threat since the case involved gangster Bannanje Raja, he had stated that there is no room for it as he has to deliver the responsibilities given by the government. This judgment shows that no one is above the law. The law takes its own course. If police and prosecution join hands and pursue the case unitedly, legal action against any criminal element is ensured, he said.
Bannanje Raja had made an extortion call and demanded protection money from the deceased Nayak. When he refused to pay the money, the accused have got him shot dead despite the police protection terrorising the state.
Furthermore, he had called up media houses from a foreign location and claimed that he had got the murder carried out, severely embarrassing state and central investigation agencies. Various judges have heard the case for over seven years. More than 210 witnesses have recorded their statements. Prosecutors have produced 1,000 pages of documentary proof.
The police had filed a charge sheet in 2013, filing charges against 16 accused who were associates and sharp shooters working for Bannanje Raja.
Rajendra Shetty a.k.a Bannanje Raja is involved in 44 serious criminal offences, including murder, extortion and kidnapping. Authorities have issued an Interpol red corner notice against Bannanje Raja. He was nabbed in Casablanca of Morocco. Later, he was extradited to Karnataka from there.
Raja is an arts graduate and worked as a bus agent in Udupi and Bengaluru. He soon started calling businessmen for ransom and as his crime graph grew he went to Dubai and later settled in Morocco, giving a real tough time for the CBI and RAW.