Real estate baron and Century Group Managing Director Dayananda Pai survived an attempt on his life when two unidentified youths opened fire at his car near Ramakrishna Ashram at Basavanagudi here on Tuesday evening.
Pai and his driver Siddaraju escaped unhurt as the car was bullet-proof. Police suspect that business rivalry might be the cause for the attack.
Pai, who is also a trustee of BMS group of academic institutions, lives at Sahakar Nagar and has an office at Vasanth Nagar. He visits the BMS College near Bull Temple in the evenings whenever he is in the City. On Tuesday, when his car reached near the junction near Ramakrishna Ashram, two accused aged between 25 and 30 years approached the car and fired at Siddaraju and Pai, before escaping, said the police.
“I heard a loud noise and presumed that someone might have thrown a stone at my car. I opened the door and got down to see. I saw the two men speeding away on bikes. It took sometime for me to realise that it was an attack on my life. Later, I reported the matter to the local police,” Pai told the media.
It is said that notorious rowdysheeter Hebbet Manja may be behind the attack. It is said that Pai had a dispute with Manja over a piece of land near Devanahalli. Pai had fenced the land which Manja claimed belonged to a few poor families.
A few television news channels claimed that Manja spoke to them and said he had masterminded the attack. Manja reportedly said Tuesday’s attack was only a “sample of the lesson” he could give Pai for grabbing the land of “innocent people”.
City Police Commissioner B G Jyothi Prakash Mirji told the media that Pai received a call from a private number around 5:50 pm when he was passing near MTR Hotel. The caller claimed to be Hebbet Manja asked Pai to “settle” the matter. Pai told him that he did not know any such land. The caller disconnected the call and again called up Pai a couple of minutes and said he had told his brother Satish Pai to “settle” the land issue.
The caller said he would teach Pai “a befitting lesson” for ignoring his directives, and disconnected the call.
The incident took place just two minutes after the telephonic conversation, Mirji said.
The police spoke to Satish Pai, who was in Mysore and was told that he did not know Hebbet Manja and had never received any calls from him. The commissioner handed over the case to CCB for further investigation.
Pai had complained to police that he received extortion calls from Dubai, and had been advised by them to to take precautionary measures and have his own security. Pai had bought a new bulletproof car and always travelled by it, said sources.
All senior police officers, including the Commissioner Mirji, Additional Commissioner of Police (law&order) T Sunil Kumar, DCP (West), who is currently in charge of West Division, S N Siddaramappa and Joint Commissioner of Crime (West Division) Pranab Mohanty, rushed to the spot and had a detailed discussion with Pai.
Manjunath alias Hebbet Manja, is a notorious rowdy element in the City. Manja, who hails from Shimoga, is known to be an associate of Lokesh alias Mulama, another notorious rowdy of the City. Involved in gang wars in the City, Manja made an attempt on Lokesh’s arch rival, Krishna alias Korangu Krishna, while the latter was being taken by police to Bellary jail. Krishna escaped, but his aide Deepu was killed.
Manja was arrested in the case by Hiriyur Police. However, he came out of the prison on bail and fearing retribution by rival gangs reportedly fled to Dubai a year ago. CCB sources say that Hebbet Manja has since been involved in real estate business in the city.
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