When 45-year-old businessman Ijas Khan was shot on Saturday, security guards, shopkeepers and employees working a few meters from the spot barely noticed.
From complete ignorance on what transpired to vague notions about the series of events, the locals have been unhelpful — even disruptive —in the investigation process, officials said.
The police said Khan was shot around 50 feet away from the entrance of Kamlakarpant Walawalkar Udyan. A watchman who was posted at the park’s main gate said, “There were too many people who had come to visit the park. I was attending to them. There was some nuisance and the police had come. But I am not sure what the matter was.”
An employee at an ice-cream store on the opposite side of the street said, “I do not know what happened. I just got a call from my boss saying that something had happened and that we needed to shut the shop. We followed the instructions and left.”
The police said local vendors, including a pani puri vendor, had seen the victim collapse to the ground, but had packed up their stalls immediately and left. The police have since been unable to contact them.
“We have spoken to dozens of people around the spot. No one has acknowledged having seen anything or having heard a gunshot. One person said he heard a sound, but assumed that the noise was caused by a tyre burst at a nearby automobile garage,” said an official from the Versova police station, adding that “public apathy” had been creating complications in the investigation of the case as there were no CCTV cameras in the area.
Khan’s body was handed over to his family after a post mortem and his last rites were conducted on Sunday afternoon.