Bananje Raja and his eight accomplices convicted

5:06 PM, Thursday, March 31st, 2022

Bannanje RajaMangaluru : Underworld don Bananje Raja and his eight accomplices have been convicted under provisions of the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act (KCOCA) for the murder of businessman R N Nayak at Ankola in Uttar Kannada district.

Three accused were acquitted, while three were still at large.

The sentence will be pronounced on April 4, Judge C M Joshi said. It is the first case was filed under provisions of KCOCA in the state and has resulted in a conviction.

According to the prosecution, Bananje Raja had been demanding a ransom of Rs 3 crore from businessman Nayak as his tax for his safety since 2009. He had been making calls from internet phones to Nayak who had later filed a police complaint and was provided with a gunman for security.

Nayak was shot dead in broad daylight on December 21, 2013, on K C Road in Ankola when he boarded his car to proceed home. Accused No 1 Vivek Upadhyaya from Uttar Pradesh had fired two shots on Nayak in which one bullet had entered his body. Nayak’s gunman Ramesh had chased Upadhaya up to Ankola bus stand and in the crossfire, the latter had been killed.

Jagadish Patel from Uttar Pradesh was caught by people and handed over to the police, while Ambaji Bamdagar from Vijayapur and Manjunath Narayan Bhat from Karkal were arrested at the Shivamogga bus stand on January 11, 2014. Ambaji and Manjunath had purchased an Omni van from Mysuru. Manjunath had been using the driving licence of a mason labourer and used the latter’s name to book a room at Kumta lodge on December 20, 2013.

Accused Ismail K M and Rabdeen Salim from Kerala had helped Ambaji and Manjunath with cell phones, SIM cards and facilitated their stay in Kerala after the murder, while accused Achangi Mahesh and Sullya Santosh in Mysuru prison serving sentences had been carrying out orders given by Bananje Raja from abroad.

The main accused, Bananje Raja, had been camping in Morocco and had been calling his accomplices and giving them directions. He had made the first call on Nayak in 2009 demanding ransom and called him again in 2012. After the murder of Nayak, Raja himself had spoken to television channels and owned responsibility for the murder as the victim had not paid his ‘taxes’. Nayak’s son Mayur had received threatening calls from Raja on January 7 and 14, 2014.

Raja was brought from Morocco on August 14, 2015, and has been housed in the Central Prison here.

Accused Ankit Kumar Kashyap from Uttar Pradesh had made weapons and munition available to accused Jagadishchandra Aras, while accused Mohammad Rashad Shabandari was booked for hawala. Three accused were still at large.

The court examined 210 witnesses, 137 material objects and 1027 exhibits.

The prosecution informed that Supreme Court had asked to complete the trial of the case by March 31. A trial monitoring team, led by Additional Superintendent of Police Uttar Kannada S Badrinath, had been constituted.

The accused convicted are Bananje Raja, Vivekkumar Upadhaya (spot death), Jagadish Patel, Ambaji Bamdagar, Manjunath Bhat, K M Ismail, Achangi Mahesh, Sullya Santosh, Jagadischandra Aras and Ankitkumar Kashyap. Those acquitted were Rabdin Saleem, Mohammed Rashid Shabandri and Anand Nayak.

Special public prosecutors K G Puranikmath and Shivaprakash Alva pleaded for the prosecution.

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