A module of the Ravi Pujari gang has been busted after the anti-extortion cell (AEC) of the Thane police arrested five members.
While Dashrath Shinde (40), Pritamsingh Parihar (30), Yogesh Pai (40) and Ranjith Dubey (28) were arrested on Tuesday, Neil Misquitta (38) was arrested on Wednesday.
The AEC started looking for them after a Kalyan businessman received an extortion call demanding Rs 50 lakh.
“In the past two months, around 12 high profile people residing in the Thane police commissionerate had received threat calls from Pujari. AEC officials used technology to locate these men, who have been arrested from Mumbai and Thane,” said Thane Police Commissioner S. P. S. Yadav.
Police said the module was also behind the firing that took place outside a builder’s house in Santacruz last month, and there is a possibility of their involvement in the extortion calls made to Kalyan and Ulhasnagar legislators, Ganpath Gaikwad and Kumar Ailani.
“With their arrest, there will be a drastic reduction in threat calls — a relief to businessmen and political leaders,” said Yadav.
Goregaon resident Shinde is reportedly the mastermind of the module. “This module was directly in touch with the gangster abroad. Shinde used to work with Chhota Rajan and later shifted his allegiance to Ravi Pujari. He provided Pujari with all the details,” Yadav said.
The police said he would gather details about businessmen, builders and politicians and pass it on to Pujari. He would plan the shootings and scout for men to carry out the task. Shinde has 18 cases against him.
Colaba resident Parihar reportedly carried out the Santacruz firing incident. He has two cases against him.
Pai, a resident of Parel, is a murder convict and was awarded the life imprisonment. Currently out on bail, he would look after hawala transactions.
While Dubey has one case against him Misquitta has five cases of murder and extortion against him. Police are on the lookout of two-three more members of the module.
The five have been remanded in police custody till September 13.