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2009 Vikhroli Firing Case: Kumar Pillai returned to extortion to claim share in redevelopment pie, says police

‘Lure of making big money from booming Vikhroli real estate market was too much for him to resist’

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai |
September 27, 2016 2:21:19 am
kumar pillai, gangster pillai, gangster kumar pillai, pillai interrogation, mumbai, mumbai police, singapore, indian express news, india news, mumbai news Extradited gangster Kumar Krishna Pillai outside the police commissioner’s office.

KUMAR PILLAI, the gangster extradited from Singapore to Mumbai in July, has reportedly told the police that he returned to extortion after having given up crime for nearly a decade as he wanted a share in the real estate redevelopment projects that were attracting astronomical rates in his home turf of Vikhroli. This statement forms part of the 240-page chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch Friday against the extradited gangster in connection with a firing allegedly ordered by him at the builder of a Vikhroli-based building project.

A senior Crime Branch officer said, “We filed the first chargesheet against Pillai on Friday in connection with a hit he ordered on builder Jayanti Shah who was not willing to pay extortion money to the gangster.” The officer said the police had arrested five persons soon after the firing on Jayanti Shah in November 2009. As the five stood trial, the court convicted three of them and acquitted the two others. “The arrested persons had confessed that they had carried out the hit on the orders of Kumar Pillai who was out of the country. At that point, we had named him as a wanted accused in the case. We filed a chargesheet against him now that he has been extradited,” added the officer.

After Pillai moved out of the country to Hong Kong sometime in 1997, said the officer, he got into garments and then electronics business. Eventually, he moved to purchasing diamonds from Africa and selling them in China. “While his business was doing well, he was hearing about the boom in real estate redevelopment market from his family and friends in Vikhroli with whom he was constantly in touch,” said the officer.

“The lure of making big money was too much for him to resist. He regrouped his gang in Mumbai and started making extortion calls to developers undertaking work in the eastern suburbs. He also struck a deal with Ashwin Naik that he would stick to the eastern suburbs, while Naik could carry out extortion in the central region,” the officer said. He added, “Initially, no one was willing to pay extortion money to Pillai since no one knew him anymore. In order to create a reign of terror again, he ordered three extortion-related shootouts in the city. The Jayanti Shah shootout was the first… We will be filing chargesheets in the other two cases soon.”

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Pillai is currently behind the bars.

The firing on Shah had taken place on November 9, 2009, when the builder was seated in his office, Laxmi Corporation, near Vikhroli railway station. A man in his early 30s entered the office, fired a few rounds and fled. Shah, who survived the attack, had later told the Vikhroli police that he had been receiving extortion calls from Pillai demanding Rs 50 lakh, which he had refused to pay.

mohamed.thaver@expressindia.com

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