A Khar-based developer was arrested by the Crime Branch on Wednesday for his alleged links with underworld gangster Ravi Pujari.
Ravi Punjabi, 32, whose family is into real estate development in the far western suburbs, was arrested by the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) from near the United States Information Service office, Churchgate.
He has been remanded to police custody till December 10.
“He primarily passed information [mostly telephone numbers] about businessmen and builders to Pujari, which helped the gangster make ransom calls,” a senior crime branch officer said, requesting anonymity.
Additional commissioner of police (crime) Deven Bharati confirmed the arrest but refused to divulge any details.
Sources in the crime branch said Punjabi’s name had cropped up during interrogation of a gang of five alleged Pujari shooters who were arrested in September.
Raju Bhandari, Lala Soni, PD Nepali, from Nepal, and Tannu Thakkar and Harshad Maru, from Gujarat, were arrested for their involvement in three firing incidents in the city.
On June 4, they had opened fire at Eeshwardas building in Khar, on June 30 at Concord builder’s office at DN Nagar and on July 14 at Nootandas Jewellers at Oshiwara.
While questioning them in connection with the Nootandas Jeweller firing, where the manager was critically injured, it was learnt that they were constantly in touch with Punjabi, who they knew as the local mafia manager for Pujari.
Later, the officials found that Punjabi had passed on personal details and mobile phone numbers of most of Pujari’s extortion victims (all from zone 9 area) because Punjabi is regular at the society gatherings in Khar-Bandra-Juhu-Andheri areas.
“He would collect information of developers and pass them to Pujari,” sources said.
Punjabi, who owns a fleet of expensive cars, had recently directed a film, World Cup 2011, in which he played the lead role.
He had changed his name to Ravi Kapoor in the promotional stationary of the film, including the posters. The film depicted the match-fixing racket in cricket and how Mafiosi would threaten cricketers.
He claimed to have received threats from Pujari two days before the release of the film.