Threat calls to Gadkari: Police identify accused and his links with terrorist

Nagpur: Police in Maharashtra’s Nagpur have found links between Jayesh Pujari, arrested for allegedly making threatening phone calls made to Union minister Nitin Gadkari earlier this year, and Afsar Pasha, who is currently in jail in Karnataka after being convicted in a Bengaluru terror attack case, an official said.

Pujari, alias Kantha and Shakir, was earlier lodged in the Belagavi prison along with Pasha, he said.

Pujari made a threat call to Gadkari’s public relations office in Nagpur on January 14, demanding Rs 100 crore and claiming to be a member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang. At that time, he was lodged in a jail in neighbouring Karnataka, police have said.

He made another call on March 21, threatening to harm the BJP Lok Sabha MP from Nagpur if Rs 10 crore were not paid to him. Pujari was arrested and brought to Nagpur on March 28 from a jail in Belagavi, and the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was invoked against him.

“The investigation by the Nagpur police in this matter revealed a connection between Pujari and terrorist Bashiruddin Noor Ahmed alias Afsar Pasha, who was earlier involved in terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir,” a top official of Nagpur police said.

Pujari had ties with Pasha, convicted in the 2012 case of recruiting terrorists for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

Pasha was also involved in the December 2005 terror attack at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru and is currently serving a jail term in Belagavi, the official said, adding that a Nagpur police team has been sent to Belagavi to arrest Pasha.

A team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had in May visited Nagpur to conduct a probe into the threatening phone calls made to Gadkari. The central agency had launched an investigation into the terror angle in the case after receiving the green signal from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.