Muthappa Rai (1952-2020) was an Indian underworld don turned social activist, actor, and businessman. He was the kingpin of numerous crime syndicates in Karnataka. He died on 15 May 2020, aged 68, in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.
Netalla Muthappa Rai Derla was born on Friday, 2 May 1952 (age 68 years; at the time of death) in Puttur City, Dakshina Kannada district, Madras State, India (now Karnataka). His zodiac sign is Taurus. Muthappa Rai completed his graduation in the field of commerce.
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Family & Caste
Muthappa Rai was born into a Tulu-speaking upper-caste Bunt family in Karnataka.
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is N. Narayana Rai (deceased). His mother’s name is Susheela Rai. He has three brothers and a sister. Two of his brothers’ names is Chandrashekar Rai and Karunakara Rai.
Wife & Children
His first wife’s name is Rekha Rai. She died in 2013 in Singapore.
He has two sons from Rekha named Rocky Rai and Ricky Rai. Rocky is the elder son who manages Muthappa’s business in the US and Canada. Ricky manages the business of Muthappa in Singapore, Australia, and West Asia. His second wife, Anuradha Rai, is an entrepreneur. He got married to her in 2016.
Muthappa Rai followed Hinduism. In March 2010, he donated Brahma Ratha, which was 71 feet tall and weighed 35 tonnes, to the Lord Mahalingeshwara temple in Puttur. The chariot was made by 15 to 20 workers from the wood of trees that were more than 250 years old.
After completing his formal education, Muthappa Rai joined Vijaya Bank, a state-owned bank, as a clerk. He served in the bank for a brief time.
Muthappa Rai established several businesses in Karnataka. On 8 April 2009, he became the director of a construction company named Alpha Consolidated Projects (India) Private Limited. On 21 September 2009, Muthappa Rai assumed directorship of another construction company named Rani Circle Projects Private Limited. On 26 November 2009, he assumed the position of director of Nandi Valley Holdings Private Limited, a real estate company. On 29 March 2010, Muthappa Rai became the director of Rai’s Paradise Developer Private Limited. On 17 January 2011, he was appointed as the director of Riverbankheritage Builders India Private Limited. He became the director of Laxmisri Granites And Stone Crushers (India) Private Limited on 15 February 2011. He assumed the directorship of Alpha Devanahalli Properties Private Limited on 21 May 2012. On 20 August 2012, he became the director of Alpha Infra Realtors (Bangalore) Private Limited. He also established several businesses outside India.
Muthappa Rai acted in the 2011 Tulu film Kanchilda Baale.
In 2012, Muthappa Rai worked as an actor in a Kannada film titled Katari Veera Surasundarangi. He acted in a 2016 Kannada film titled Mandya Star.
Muthappa Rai’s affiliation with the underworld began after he started a cabaret club named Omar Kayyam in Karnataka. In an interview, Muthappa said that since there were many gangsters in Karnataka back in the 1980s, he had to take help from underworld factions to protect his business. Talking about it, he said,
I did not become a part of the underworld willingly. I drifted in it as I had to make contacts with many underworld gangsters to save my cabaret business from rival businessmen and their gangsters.”
He rose to prominence in the underworld in 1989 after his men murdered S. P. Jayaraj, a prominent gangster and the head of the Indira Brigade in Bengaluru while he was attending a hearing in a court in Bengaluru. Despite the infamous incident, Muthappa failed to rally the support of other underworld factions. In an interview, Agni Sridhar, an Indian gangster turned journalist, said,
Jayaraj was murdered in broad daylight by Rai’s men. Rai then became the don of Bengaluru but he did not enjoy the support of the local rowdies. He could not round them up and pacify them. He got a letter from one of them saying they wouldn’t join hand…”
In 1992, Muthappa Rai was accused of murdering an underworld gangster named Amar Alva. In 1994, he went to Mumbai, where he reportedly joined hands with Dawood Ibrahim and his right-hand man Sharad Shetty, to increase his influence in Karnataka. Muthappa wanted Agni Sridhar to join hands with him to rule over the crime syndicates in Karnataka; however, Agni refused to do so as he was not in favour of Muthappa teaming with Dawood Ibrahim and bringing Mumbai’s gun culture to Karnataka. In 1994, an attempt on Muthappa’s life was made while he was on his way to attend a court hearing on the Amar Alva murder case. He was shot five times; however, he survived it and was hospitalised following which he remained bedridden for two years.
In 1996, he left India and fled to Dubai, where he started several crime syndicates with Sharad Shetty. Muthappa Rai also started several pharmaceutical businesses in UAE, the Middle East as well as in Africa. In 2001, he was accused of masterminding the murder of a Bengaluru-based builder Subbaraj who had refused to sell him his land; however, the sharpshooter, who shot the builder, told the police that Muthappa was not involved in the murder as it was planned by Guru Satnam and Ravi Pujari, who were Chhota Rajan’s henchmen. The police later said that Muthappa provided logistical support to Rajan’s men. In 2002, Muthappa Rai contacted a journalist named Daniel George who was working as a media officer in the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE. According to Daniel, Muthappa told him to contact the Indian authorities to help him to return to India as the UAE police were looking for him for his involvement in illegal activities. Some other sources claim that he was extradited by the Saudi government to India after Interpol issued a Red Notice against him. After his return to India from Dubai, he was interrogated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), and the Karnataka Police. Later, he was jailed as he stood trial in connection with eight murders; however, he was acquitted in 2004 as the authorities could not find any evidence against him. According to Rai, he was granted safe passage to India because he helped the Indian intelligence agencies in conducting clandestine operations in Afghanistan.
To help improve the standard of living of the people in Karnataka, he founded Jaya Karnataka, a Non-government Organisation (NGO), in 2008. His NGO provided free of cost medical treatment, education, ration, and a lot more to the poor.
He owned an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Polaris Sportsman.
- Toyota Land Cruiser.
- Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
- Mercedes-Benz SLK Coupe.
- Audi Q5.
Note: He had more than 50 cars.
As of 2018, Muthappa Rai’s net worth was estimated to be Rs 30,000 crore.
Muthappa Rai owned properties worth Rs 2000 crore (approximately). He used to live in Bidadi in a mansion, spreading across 30 acres of land.
In January 2020, Muthappa Rai, during a press conference at his residence in Bidadi, revealed that he was battling brain cancer. In the conference, he said,
I have always led a fearless life. I do not fear death either. I survived even after being hit with five bullets. I am not afraid of death and I am living entirely on sheer will power.”
On 30 April 2020, he was admitted to Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru after his health condition deteriorated. Muthappa Rai breathed his last on 15 May 2020. His family, in an interview, said,
Muthappa Rai died at around 2 am on Friday; his final rites will be conducted at his residential premise in Bidadi. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, his final rites will be conducted only by his family members and no public will be allowed to attend the funeral.”
- Muthappa Rai lived in a very lavish house. His house had many showpieces made of pure gold. He also had several crystal chandeliers installed at his home. To maintain security, Muthappa ordered the construction of a 20-foot wall with concertina wires. Many armed guards patrolled his house day and night.
- Muthappa Rai owned many imported and expensive sunshades.
- Muthappa Rai followed a non-vegetarian diet. In an interview, he said that he stopped eating wild meat and even asked his friends and followers to do so. Talking about it, he said,
I don’t know how people can kill birds like the peacock and eat its meat. I have stopped eating wild meat and I cannot imagine somebody killing animals and birds like deer, sambar, and peacock and eat them. I even tell my friends not to eat wild meat.”
- Muthappa Rai’s had a heavily armoured Land Cruiser, which could withstand AK-47 bullets and RPG rockets.
- After his death, Anuradha Rai filed a case against his sons, Rocky and Ricky, demanding a third of the total property, a 30% share in the bank accounts, and eleven cars. Talking about it, in an interview, Anuradha’s lawyer said,
We are not sure of the extent of his properties. There could be more. What we know… we have put out details. We have mentioned in our plaint too that there may be other properties which would be added to this in future. We are in the process of getting the details. Nothing was given to her earlier (by way of any properties in her name, before Rai died). She has not taken anything from the estate. There seems to be no settlement within the family, that’s the instruction.”
- When Muthappa Rai joined the Vijaya Bank, he only had Rs 30 in his account as savings.
- According to Muthappa Rai’s will, he left 600 acres of land, houses in Bengaluru, and businesses to his sons. He also left some land and money for employees, working with him for more than 25 years.
- Before joining the bank, Muthappa Rai worked as a worker for the Indian National Congress (INC) and was once involved in a knife fight with the workers of other parties during a local election.
- In 2016, Ram Gopal Verma announced that he would be casting Vivek Oberoi to play the role of Muthappa Rai in the Bollywood film Rai; however, the project never materialised.
- In 2018, he became the chairperson of the Karnataka Athletics Association.
- In the same year, a video went viral in which Muthappa Rai was seen conducting Shastra Pooja at his home. Later, the police summoned him for the same.