The Mumbai Police Crime Branch unit has arrested gangster Prasad Pujari ‘s 62-year-old mother Indira Pujari from Mira-Bhayandar on Wednesday for allegedly helping her son to run an extortion racket. She allegedly distributed ‘khacha’ (commission) to gang members on the behest of her son.
During the police investigation into the shooting case on Shiv Sena’s leader Chandrashekhar Jadhav in which he was injured, Indira’s role was uncovered.
Indira Pujari was arrested from her cousin sister’s residence in the Mira-Bhayandar. She has been booked under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) following her arrest. She was produced before a special court on Thursday. “Indira was arrested from her relative’s residence in Mira-Bhayander and during an inquiry, it became clear that she was helping Pujari’s gang members financially to run the extortion racket in the city,” said Joint Commissioner of Police Santosh Rastogi.
How Police caught her
Indira had deposited cash of Rs. 50,000 in Sagar Mishra’s (one of Pujari’s henchman) bank account in December last year. Mishra was arrested on March 02 in connection with the firing on Jadhav at Vikroli. “As per his bank statement, she [Indira] had deposited ₹50,000 in Mishra’s account in December last year. We are checking other bank accounts to get more information about the financial trail,” said Rastogi.
In January, Pujari allegedly threatened a real estate developer and demanded ₹10 lakh from him. The developer filed a complaint at Vikhroli police station. Suresh Kumar Pujari (Cousin of Prasad) had deposited Rs 25,000 into the account of Sunil Angane, a building contractor who had allegedly been sent by Prasad Pujari to remind the developer of paying up the extortion ransom of Rs 10 lakh. The questioning of Angane, who was arrested subsequently, had led to the arrest of Suresh.
During the interrogation, the crime branch learnt that the money which he had deposited in Angane’s account was given to him by Prasad Pujari’s mother Indira. The subsequent probe revealed that she (Indira) had given Suresh over Rs 2.5 lakh to deposit in 5 various accounts in December last year.
Police team verified the claim and scanned CCTV footage. It was ascertained that Indira did go with Kumar to deposit the money into Angane’s account. Once Indira’s role was clear, a team started looking for her.