Udupi: Bannanje Raja tryst with fights began during college days
Udupi, Feb 12: Bannanje Raja alias Rajendra Prasad, who reportedly stands arrested in Morocco, Africa, had became notorious even in his college days because of his involvement with brawls and fistfights.
Bannnanje Raja happens to be the son of Sundar Shettigar and Vilasini couple from Kalmadi, and had completed primary education at Kalmadi.
During his student days when pursuing BA degree in Poornaprajna College here, he participated in students union elections, and was involved with frictions and fights. He hailed from a middle class family, and was gifted with an attractive personality. His name was for the first time linked to the murder case of Kokkarne Kushala Shetty in the 1990s.
Raja, who earned handsomely in minor real estate business, started Siidarth Finance between Bannanje and Shiribeedu but fell off with partners later. He then partnered with some others in running private buses between Udupi and Bengaluru. As his name frequently cropped up in cases of fights, he shifted base to Bengaluru to avoid getting into complications, where he came in contact with underworld elements and became a permanent entity there, it is learnt.
The last people from his native place recollect of him is his visit to the town to get electoral voter card in 1994, during which period he stayed here for three to four years. Thereafter, he was not heard till his name surfaced when he began to call realtors from Dubai seeking protection money. Some sources claim that some builders were secretly remitting him money. In 2009, Bannanje was arrested in Dubai, but he had succeeded in getting released on technical grounds. On the basis of Interpol red corner notice, he stands arrested in Morocco now.
Karnataka state additional director general of police, N S Megharikh, said that the case relating to Bannanje Raja, who stands arrested in Morocco, will be followed up by Mangaluru city police commissioner, who will execute processes involved with claiming his custody and bringing him here.
It is said that Raja had recently pressurized a hotellier from Mangaluru to part with five crore rupees as protection money. The hotellier resisteed. When Raja increased pressure, the hotellier reportedly assisted the police to find the hide out of Raja, who was staying at Morocco with a fake name with the surname, Hegde.
It is said that Dubai police arrested him relating to certain cases like cheque bounce pending in UAE, from Morocco.
In all likelihood, he will be handed over to India after the cases he faces in UAE are settled, it is being analyzed now.