Bengaluru: 12-hour-long search operation during an early morning raid conducted on the residence of former BBMP corporator and rowdy V. Nagaraj alias Bomb Naga on Friday, the city police seized nearly Rs 15 crore in scrapped currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations, besides lethal weapons and property documents worth crores.
Before the raid in the morning, the police found it difficult to enter the fortress-like house of Naga in Srirampura. They brought in metal wiring experts to break open the wall-like gates of the house.
Naga, who had reportedly slept at home on Thursday night, managed to escape from the terrace, while the cops were busy breaking open the gate. The police have formd special teams to trace him.
The raid was conducted following a complaint on April 7 by Umesh at the Hennur police station, accusing Bomb Naga of cheating him in a money exchange racket post demonetisation and abducting him. But on Thursday, the cops were in shock when they found scrapped currency notes stashed in bags, though the last date to deposit such notes has ended long back.
Umesh stated in his complaint that on March 18, he and his friends Ganesh and Kishore had gone to see a land, while two people, Saravan and Praveen, came in a car and abducted three of them at knifepoint and took them to Naga’s house. They were freed only after they were robbed of Rs 50 lakh and gold ornaments.
The police said that Naga was operating the money exchange racket and striking land deals at his five-storey building. He is wanted in over 45 cases of attempted murder, extortion, kidnapping and money laundering at Srirampura police station.
After the raid, Additional Commissioner of Police (East) Hemant Nimbalkar said that the police seized Rs 14.80 crore in scrapped currency notes from the house. He said that the information will be shared with central agencies, like the Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate.Naga’s two sons Gandhi and Shastry, who are also rowdies, are missing.
How nagaraj became ‘bomb’ naga
Nagaraj earned the title of Bomb Naga in 1985 when he hurled a country-made explosive at his business rival Rajendran. Naga was arrested by the Srirampura police and during the interrogation, he said that he wanted to kill Rajendran and had brought the explosive from Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh. Though Rajendran escaped unhurt, he was later killed by another rowdy Chakravarthy alias Chakre.
Naga, who started his criminal career with pickpocketing, later tried hands in extortion, kidnapping and attempted murder. As Naga’s criminal activities grew, Srirampura and Malleswaram police opened a rowdy sheet against him and his gang.
Naga, in an attempt to make over his tainted image, contested the BBMP election in 2002 as an independent candidate from Prakashnagar and won. He was the corporator from Prakashnagar between 2001 and 2005.
But the ‘good life’ did not last long and Naga soon resumed his criminal activities. In 2010, Naga’s gang hacked a former BBMP corporator Govindaraju to death as Govindaraju had campaigned against Queen Elizabeth, one of Naga’s wives. He allegedly hired killers for Rs 1.5 lakh to eliminate Govindaraju.
Naga was booked under Goonda Act in early 2013 and was jailed. He was released on the instructions of the advisory committee when it found insufficient reasons against Naga to be booked under the Act. After his release, Naga tried his hand at assembly election and contested from Gandhinagar as a candidate of the Badavara Shramikara Raitara Congress. He lost to Congress leader Dinesh Gundurao.
Naga had also approached the High Court seeking directions to the police to not to call him Naga alias Bomb Naga alias Pal Maga in future. The state informed the court that it has already issued an endorsement to the petitioner that he will not be referred to as such in the police records and would be referred to as V. Nagaraj. A few years ago, the high court held that the petitioner cannot be listed as rowdy sheeter as cases pending against him did not constitute such offences.