Bengaluru: Karnataka’s mafia don Bannanje Raja was on Friday flown to Bengaluru via New Delhi from Morocco for trial in about 50 criminal cases, including extortion, a top police official said.
“A six-member crime branch team returned to Bengaluru with Raja after taking him into custody at Casablanca in Morocco and was brought to New Delhi on Thursday for preliminary interrogation,” Director General of Police Om Prakash told reporters here.
Raja, alias Rajendra, who hails from Malpe in Udupi on the state’s west coast, about 400 km from here, was arrested by Interpol and Morocco police on February 12 on a tip off by Indian sleuths, as a red corner notice was served on him in 2009 by the state to all countries through the union home ministry.
The team was led by Bengaluru’s Additional Commissioner of Police C.H. Pratap Reddy and had two police officers from Mangaluru and Udupi.
“Though we don’t have an extradition treaty with Morocco, our team convinced its top court on the urgent need to extradite Raja as he is wanted by our courts in many criminal cases pending over the last two decades,” Prakash said.
The cases were filed against the fugitive under the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act, 2000, while he remained untraced over the last 15 years.
Raja’s wife Sona Hemanth Hegde, who lives in Dubai, will soon fly back to India to help him in the legal battle for bail and trial.
“At one time, Raja had three passports under different names, issued from Bengaluru, Mangaluru and Mumbai passport offices,” Prakash said.