Bengaluru: All the doors appear to be shut for underworld don Rajendra Kumar aka Bannanje Raja. If all goes according to the police plans perfectly, he is likely to be extradited to India within a week.
He has been a fugitive since 1996. He has been named in many cases like firing on Chandra Upadhyaya, owner of a travel agency in Bengaluru, killing of entrepreneur R N Nayak on Dec 21, 2013, life threats to Karwar MLA Satish Sail and firing at the residence of Yellapur MLA Shivaram Hebbar.
On February 10 last, while flying to Casablanca, the capital of Morocco, he was caught by chance as the passport bore a different name as Raja Hemant Kumar Hegde. As he had an Interpol red notice issued against him, the Moroccan authorities, with the help of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) from India, arrested and jailed him.
A team of high-level police officers, including Bengaluru’s additional police commissioner and erstwhile inspector general of the western range, C H Pratap Reddy, is getting set to fly to Morocco. A formal permission from the state government is being awaited. Reddy, while serving in Mangaluru as the IGP, had familiarized himself with the past history of Raja. A ‘white passport’ is being prepared to bring him along.
The team will include well-experienced officials from Karwar, Udupi and Mangaluru. Raja had taken a lot of trouble to ensure that he would not be repatriated to India. But the RAW officials persisted with their pressure and finally, the topmost authority in Moroccan government is said to signed the extradition papers on Friday.
Chequered career of Bannanje Raja:
1. Born and brought up in Baputota in Malpe, as son of two teachers, and named Rajendra Kumar
2. His mother being in a transferable job, she used to take her three childrean wherever she was posted.
3. From IV standard onwards, studied in Kundapur.
4. In standard IX, had a row with his teacher and he was made to repeat a year in the same class.
5. His mother shifted him to Udupi and put him in her brother’s house in Bannanje. Hence he came to be referred to as ‘Bannanje Raja’.
6. Since mid-1960s, there used to be regular group fights between Malpe and Udupi youngsters. Raja, although hailing from Malpe, identified himself with the Udupi group.
7. While in college, he indulged in fights and scuffles.
8. Getting into private enterprise, he set up an STD booth, followed by a travel agency in Udupi. He went on to own buses plying between Udupi and Bengaluru. He tried to gain control over the bus travel industry by threat and extortion.
9. In 1996, he fled to Dubai. Then on, sitting in the Gulf, he kept control over an empire of crime and extortion.
10. His recent call of extortion made to a Dubai-based hotelier of Mangalurean origin, happened to be his bane. The hotelier, with good contacts in Dubai, succeeded in having Raja arrested in Morocco.