| Bhatt: Pujari calls
Mumbai, June 14: A youth walked into Mahesh Bhatt’s Juhu office today asking for the filmmaker who was not there at the time, fired a shot and escaped on a motorcycle.
Minutes after the incident, in which no one was hurt, the phone rang and the caller who claimed he was the gangster Ravi Pujari said: “Abhi bach gaya. Agali baar nahi chhodega. (You got away this time. We won’t spare you the next time).”
Next, he called Bhatt’s house and left the same message, bringing back memories of 1997-98 when Bollywood lived in terror of threat calls and underworld bullets.
Police said around 12.05 pm, a youth in T-shirt and denims rang the bell of Bhatt’s fourth floor office at Shubha Darshan co-operative society and asked for the Bhatt brothers.
“The door was opened by the cook in Bhatt’s office. The man asked, ‘Boss kidhar hai (Where’s your boss)'’ When the servant replied in the negative, the man turned to go back. He fired a round directed at the floor,” additional commissioner (western region) Bipin Behari said.
After the youth left, Bhatt’s terrified staff telephoned him. He rushed from home for office. But his close friend and filmmaker Ashok Pandit reached before him and answered the abusive threat call.
An hour later, Pujari called television channels to claim responsibility.
Speaking in Bombay Hindi, the former Chhota Rajan associate said this was part of his “mission” to finish off associates of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Claiming to be in Australia, Pujari said: “Mahesh Bhatt works for Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel and launders their money. He travels overseas to meet them, and that is why I targeted him.”
The firing flummoxed Bhatt who denied having links with the underworld, or having ever received threat calls. “There is no basis for what this person has said on television,” said Bhatt, who has been given police protection.