Mumbai: Shooter affiliated with Ravi Pujari turns thief, arrested

A shooter affiliated with gangster Ravi Pujari, who had fired at two Bollywood personalities in 2014, was arrested along with three others on March 20 after attempting to plunder a jewellery shop in Versova. The individual, Ashfaq Sayyed Abdul Rashid, 33, was recently released from Arthur Road jail, where he joined the gang of thieves while serving a seven-year sentence.

Pujari, who was wanted in extortion cases in Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan, Ulhasnagar and Dombivli near Mumbai, was arrested and extradited from the Philippines in December 2021. He is currently in jail. While in jail, Ashfaq received the information about Pujari’s prosecution. Realising that he would be jobless in the world of crime with his patron behind bars, he decided to become a thief, according to the police. “Being a shooter, this was completely a new ball game for him. He needed expertise and hence he began to look for an opportunity to learn the tricks of the trade,” said a Crime Branch officer.

Joining the gang

While serving his sentence, Ashfaq learnt that a highway robbery mastermind, Vinod Vaishnav, 38, was also in Arthur Road jail.  He also found out that Vaishnav was friendly with Worli resident Pintu Kamlesh Chaudhary, 32, and Sewri resident Chand Ibrahim Shaikh, 28, who were involved in a series of housebreaking and murder cases. These individuals formed the gang in jail and planned to execute thefts in Juhu, Santacruz, Versova, Lokhandwala and Bandra.

The four accused planned to target the jewellery shop at Versova on March 20. Under the guidance of DCP Rajtilak Roshan and Senior PI Ganesh Pawar of Versova police station, a team comprising API Amit Jadhav, PSI Dhaneshwar Jadhav and Constables Pawar, Bhosale, Inamdar, Sable, Pathan and Khairnar nabbed the gang before the theft could take place. One accused, Shankar Chaurasia, however, managed to evade arrest. The captured accused spilt the beans during their interrogation. The Versova police recovered a pistol, three live bullets, a knife, black gloves and masks, three mobile phones and two bikes from the accused.

How Ashfaq landed behind bars

Ashfaq had fired at a Bollywood film producer in Juhu in 2014. While one bullet pierced the latter’s car, another hit a tree and others hit the producer’s bungalow, injuring no one. In another case, that same year, Ashfaq and other people waited outside a producer’s house in Khar with the intention to kill him. Ashfaq was allegedly working under Obed Radiowala, an alleged aide of Pujari.

March 20
Day gang was busted

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