Businessman’s murder case: Gangster Bannanje Raja, eight others get life term

A sessions court in the Belagavi district of Karnataka on Monday sentenced gangster Bannanje Raja alias Rajendra Kumar, 53, and his eight associates to life imprisonment for murder and organised crime activities.

The punishment was awarded in connection with the December 2013 murder of a businessman, R N Nayak, in the Ankola town of the Karwar coastal region.

The trial court has also ordered the payment of a compensation of Rs 30 lakh by the accused (including Rs 10 lakh by Raja) to the widow of the murdered businessman under the provisions of the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act, 2000.

Raja was extradited from Morocco in 2015 by the Karnataka Police after investigations revealed his involvement.

Raja and his gang were attempting to extort Rs 3 crore from the businessman, who had ignored their threats and sought police protection. Hired gunmen carried out the killing in Ankola town on December 21, 2013. One of the gunmen involved in the shooting, Akash alias Vivek Upadhyay, 27, was killed by Nayak’s bodyguard in a shootout with the assailant, while the second shooter, Satish Patel, was nabbed by the public while he was trying to flee.

On March 30, the court convicted nine persons, while three others accused of providing logistical support were acquitted.

Raja has been directed to pay Rs 10 lakh fine for three counts under KCOCA. “In default of payment, he shall undergo three-year imprisonment for each default,” the court said.

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