Police on Saturday arrested Abdul Hameed alias Puttu, 40, on charges of conspiracy behind the two incidents of firing in 2010 and 2013.
Police sources said Hameed was involved in a fake currency racket and was closely associated with K M Abdulla, a known Indian handler of Dawoods counterfeit Indian currency business.
Besides, Hameed had links with fugitive Ravi Pujari, who allegedly made extortion calls to Bollywood stars. In 2006, Hameed, a native of Mangalore, was arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad after he was deported from Dubai in a fake currency case. Later, Hameed was jailed in Bangalore after being convicted in a fake currency case.
Police said Hameed had conspired with Ravi Pujari and others to extort Rs 50 crore from Kunji. The businessman was targeted on the assumption that Shahanas Hamza, who was shot in Kasaragod in 1998 as a result of rivalry between gold smuggling gangs, had handed over gold bars worth Rs 50 crore to Kunji.
Deputy Superintendent of Police T P Ranjith, who has been tracking Hameeds operations, said the conspiracy had begun in 2008 while Hameed was in Bangalore jail. Hameed considered that the gold bars which Hamza had handed over to Kunji belonged to Dawood. After Dawood fled India, Hameed sought the support of Pujari and another underworld leader, Kali Yogesh, reportedly hiding in Gulf, to extort money from Kunji, the officer said.
Hameed had assigned his relative Ali alias Munna to fire at Kunjis house. The first incident was in June, 2010. A few days later, Hameed made calls to Kunji demanding Rs 50 crore. As the money did not come, gunshots were fired in 2013 again. The family had narrow escapes in both incidents.
Police said Hameeds mobile phone call details showed he was frequently in touch with underworld dons abroad. Besides, extortion calls had gone to Kunji and others from the same phone used by Hameed.
Police said Hameed used to collect extortion money from several businessmen in Karntaka. The gang was attempting to replicate the strategy in Kerala also. In fact, Hamza, who was murdered in 1998, had not handed over any gold as Hameed suspected. They were demanding extortion money based on a wrong information, the investigating officer said.
The arrest of Hameeds associate Ali alias Munna in Mangalore helped police reach Hameed.
His immediate boss in Indian operations, K M Abdulla, was arrested in Colombo in 2007 in connection with a fake currency case.