Nagpur: A special team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) is in Nagpur for investigation into the threatening phone calls made to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. The investigation team has been led by a Deputy Inspector General (DIG) rank official, according to a report in a local English daily.
The calls were made by a murder convict Jayesh Pujari alias Kantha, who was arrested by Nagpur Police from a jail in Belagavi, Karnataka. The NIA has registered a case at Bengaluru in Karnataka and the Mumbai team of the agency was directed to conduct investigation. Reports claimed, the team with a battery of experts will be led by a DIG rank officer.
The special team’s investigation will be crucial in uncovering the full extent of this terror network and bringing the culprits to justice. Exploring the role of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the underworld are the main focus of the investigation. The report also claimed that the NIA team would interact with the city police officials who investigated the case. After examining the case papers of two offences registered at Dhantoli Police Station, the NIA officials would decide whether to arrest Kantha immediately or not.
On January 14, Pujari made a threatening call to Gadkari’s public relations office, demanding Rs 100 crore and claiming to be a member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang. He made another call on March 21, threatening to harm Gadkari if Rs 10 crore were not paid. Pujari was brought to Nagpur on March 28 from a jail in Belagavi city of Karnataka State, and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was invoked against him. After receiving green signal from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the NIA officials launched an investigation on terror angle as Pujari had relations with dreaded terrorists including Lashkar-e-Taiba’s South Division chief Captain Naseer.
Pujari had also taken training in arms in the North-East parts of the country. During Pujari’s interrogation by the city police, it was revealed that he had met Naseer in jail and received training in bomb-making. He also came in contact with other terrorists in the jail, including Fahad Koya, Afsar Pasha, as well as ‘D’ gang members Rashid Malabari and Ganesh Shetty. These accused were financially supporting Pujari in the jail.
The police received information that Pujari gave a ‘contract’ to Shakeel to kill former Karnataka DCM Ishwar Appa. Shakeel was first arrested in 2018 for carrying drugs, and then in 2019, he was caught in the same crime. In 2021, he was arrested in a kidnapping and rape case. He met Pujari in jail, and Pujari helped him get bail.