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Pujari claims Bhatt has underworld connections

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Thursday, June 15, 2006
Mumbai (UNI): Underworld struck at Bollywood again when two unidentified gunmen opened fire in renowned filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's Juhu office ''to do away with him''. However, no one was injured in the shootout. The outspoken filmmaker was not present in the office at the time of the incident. Don Ravi Pujari has claimed responsibility for the shooting claiming Bhatt was aiding Dawood Ibrahim's and Chhota Shakeel's businesses and hawala payments in India. However, the police said it was too early to say anything and only after the investigations were complete could they come out with a statement. ''Mahesh is very close to Dawood and Shakeel and that is why I want to kill him. Whoever is the enemy of my country is my enemy,'' Pujari told a news channel. Vowing to eliminate the filmmaker, Pujari said, ''He was lucky today but his days are numbered.''

Strongly refuting the allegations Mahesh Bhatt said, he had nothing to do with underworld and till date nobody had issued him any type of threat. He said he considered himself a free citizen of a free country, having the right to voice concerns on issues he felt necessary. ''I have my own style of life and nobody should be bothered with that,'' added Bhatt. When asked about seeking security for himself, he told that the law agencies would decide accordingly. The last release from the Bhatt stable Gangster was loosely based on Abu Salem-Monica Bedi liaison.

Speaking to mediapersons Bhatt's daughter Pooja said some persons entered the office and asked the staff about his whereabouts. One of the men took out a weapon and fired two rounds one of which hit a door in the office. She also said that the news about her father being in the office at the time of the shooting was totally false. When asked about Ravi Pujari taking responsibility for the attack, Pooja Bhatt said that she had never heard this name before and neither had they received any threat from anybody so far. Last year, in the same locality, another film producer Anant Mahendroo was fired upon while travelling in his car. Ravi Pujari has earlier owned responsibility for the attack on prominent criminal lawyer Majid Memon near his residence at Bandra while he was on the way to court last year.

Meanwhile, Joint Commissioner of Police Arup Patnaik(Crime) said police was investigating various angles of the attack to ascertain the real intention behind the firing. Mr Patnaik also said gangster Pujari's admission on television claiming responsibility for the attack would have to be probed further to find reasons behind the attack.

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