The Gujarat Police arrested K.S. Manjunath aka Santro Ravi, a Karnataka resident, who faces charges of human trafficking, in Ahmedabad on Friday.
The 51-year-old political fixer wanted in at least 21 cases – from murder, human trafficking, prostitution to fraud — was rounded up after a 10-day hunt since a lookout notice was issued by the Karnataka Police.
On January 2, Ravi was accused of assault and atrocities by his 27-year-old estranged ‘wife,’ shortly after she was released on bail in a ‘dacoity’ case along with her 20-year-old sister – an internal police probe by the Bengaluru police has now revealed that the case was cooked up by officials at the Cottonpet police station in Bengaluru, allegedly at Ravi’s behest.
The “Santro” Ravi affair –the emergence of audio leaks of the alleged criminal boasting to police officers about high connections in the Karnataka government, including CM Basavaraj Bommai and Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, and his ability to facilitate transfers of police officers on payments – has rocked the Karnataka government over the last 10 days.
Opposition Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress have questioned the BJP government over pictures of Ravi in the company of several ministers and have alleged that the state administration had been handed over to criminals. A delay of 12 days in carrying out Ravi’s arrest also triggered speculation of government support.
“He has been arrested in Ahmedabad. The Mysore city police have arrested him with the assistance of the Gujarat police. A case was registered on January 2 by the Vijaynagar police in Mysore against him,” ADG, Police (Law and Order) Alok Kumar said on Friday evening.
The police official said that Ravi initially travelled around Karnataka with different people in his car and later left the state when the police began looking for him.
“He has moved across Kerala, Telangana and Maharashtra and our teams were sent to many places. He is a well-established criminal and the Goonda Act was invoked against him in Mysore in 2005. He has a criminal mind and knows how to evade arrest. Through sustained effort, we were able to track him down to Ahmedabad in Gujarat. He will be brought to Mysore on a transit warrant,” the ADGP said.
Ravi has a history of involvement in human trafficking cases in Karnataka and there are as many as 14 cases that have been registered against him since 1995. According to police sources, he was convicted in one case where he served a seven-month prison term.
Ravi allegedly claimed close association with political leaders and approached policemen with offers of facilitating their transfer to good postings on payment of funds to political leaders. “He approached police officers with a claim of being close to the CM. He sent lists of police transfers and claimed to have facilitated the transfers. He also brought along women to meetings and claimed that they were supplied to political leaders,” a police officer familiar with his modus operandi said.
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