MANGALORE: Notorious criminal Pandu alias Panduranga Pai was recently hacked to death in an isolated area near the Kankanady railway station, thereby putting a bloody end to the bloody chapter of a dreaded criminal who was wanted by the police in several cases.
Here is a brief insight into the life of this criminal who aspired to be a don of the coastal districts.
Decades ago, a teenager was making a living doing line sale of soft drinks, along with several other youth of Matadakani area in the city. The teenager was none other than the now killed Pandu. But unfortunately he fell into the trap of rowdyism never to look back and never to return.
After the killing of Gunakar Shetty in the year 1991, the Ballalbagh Raghu team had been ripped apart. On the other hand, the Barke gang led by Barke Yaddu was behind bars. They were facing several charges including the case of chopping off the hands of Akashbhavan Suresh and Kadri Santhu. Taking advantage of the absence of gang leaders there merged a small leader named Chimini Santhu who was a frail looking man.
While the Barke and Ballalbagh gangs were in the sideline, Chimini Santhu was quite active and some youth too had joined his gang. Among them was Pandu who slowly learnt all aspects of rowdyism. Though he did not lay his hands into more heinous crimes he was brilliant enough in organizing rowdyism.
An incident that took place when the Mumbai mafia don Sadhu Shetty was in the prisoner’s cell at Wenlock, changed the course of the life of this Matadakani boy. Sadhu Shetty’s son-in-law was then attacked by Mulki Naveen gang. It was an attack owing to some personal rivalry while in reality Mulki Naveen had nothing to do with the incident. But Sadhu Shetty took the services of Pandu to eliminate Mulki Naveen.
Even Deju Shetty who was running a club at Chelairu was among the several who were a witness to the attack on Ranjan Shetty at the Mulki bus stand. The youth of Matadakani, who finished Deju Shetty for the reason that they could not lay their hands on Mulki Naveen, brought smiles on the face of Sadhu Shetty.
Sadhu Shetty was stunned by the way in which the Matadakani boys launched the attack and came to the conclusion that an organized team here too can control the underworld like in Mumbai.
He thus nurtured this gang which also included Pandu. When Matadakani Santhu got killed at the hands of Barke Vinay at the City Kitchen at Mannagudda, Pandu took upon the leadership of the Mannagudda boys.
The first case registered against Pandu was when he attacked an autorickshaw driver at Kadri police station limits in the year 1989. Thus began his criminal activities which included the attack on Udaya of Barke Yaddu gang, attack on Rakesh Malli’s brother, attack on Ashok Shetty in Karkala and the murder attempot of Udaya Shetty, owner of the Tourist Hotel of Udupi.
Pandu later on shifted his base to Mumbai owing to his links with Sadhu Shetty and was involved in the murder of a Chota Shakeel aide, and that of Anwarlal, a relative of the Mumbai blast accused Davood. He was even charged with hatching the murder plot of Mohammad Soofi in Gujarat. After Sadhu Shetty was killed in an encounter, he had identified himself with the Ravi Poojari gang. As per police records nearly 26 cases were pending against Pandu in different stations.
Pandu had even undergone two years of imprisonment in Mumbai under the Arms Act. He returned to Mangalore in 2006 and was preparing a sketch to finish Barke Yaddu when he was trapped and put behind bars.
Pandu who had a deep desire to rule the underworld in Mangalore, came into contact with Vamanjoor Rohi in the prison. Pandu who learnt from within bars the manner in which Chethu of Bolar, Barke Yaddu and others were making money, hatched a plan to finish Rohi, by colluding with Chetu. It was Pandu who was the brain behind the plan to first help Rohi who was shifted to the Mysore jail to escape and then finish him off. In this act he was helped by Vinod Shettigar, Shaktivelu, Chilly Naveen and some others. But the plan turned a flop. Later on, the pair joined hands with Mulki Rafique and hatched yet another conspiracy to finish off Yaddu through Dadapal Rahiman of Kalladka. Yet again their plan flopped as Sukhananda Shetty murder took place almost the same time. Pandu after he was released was most of the time at large. He was still wanted by the police in connection with the supari killings planned by Vinod Shettigar. He was traced by the police in the Madikeri estate of the father of a student of SDM College. It was then that he revealed to the police of his plans to finish off Bushra Azeez, Purusha of Udupi, Barke Yaddu and Srikar of Kaup.
In fact, an attempt had been made on the life of Pandu near a bar at Tokkottu some time back. Though the attempt was foiled Pandu was later on handed over to the Gujarat police in connection with the case of threatening a businessman there for hafta.
His parents, Taranath Pai and Kasturi had since long feared that there was a chance of their son getting killed in an encounter and his father had even made an appeal to the SP to protect his son. Pandu had landed in Mangalore after he was released on bail from Gujarat jail and was finally killed in Mangalore by the Bejai Raja gang.