Kapurchand Gupta, 49, who was stabbed to death in the middle of a street on Tuesday night, had been at loggerheads with the two accused for over a year, the Kandivli police said.
Gupta, secretary of the hawker's union, had put an end to the moneylending business of the accused, Shivprasad Balgovind Kesari, 37, and Shivkumar Pathru Bharadwaj, 42.
According to the police, Kesari and Bharadwaj would lend money to hawkers. However, Gupta had been advising hawkers against borrowing money.
"Because of this the duo started to suffer losses. After this, they started a firecrackers business, but even that collapsed, which made then angrier," said an officer from the Kandivli police station.
The police said they were investigating if there were any other reasons for the men killing Gupta so brutally.
"The accused stabbed Gupta 27 times. We are investigating if there was more to what meets the eye," he said.
The police said they were yet to recover the chopper used for the attack and were checking the CCTV footage in the area to make a strong case.
"The two men are not talking much at the moment. They have been remanded in police custody till November 30. We will continue interrogating them," said H Pimple, senior inspector, Kandivli police station, adding that the accused did not have any known criminal records.
The incident took place occurred when Gupta was travelling on a motorcycle with Yogesh Gaud, 23, when a silver Maruti Zen intercepted them and hit their bike from the rear.
The two men fell off when the man seated on the passenger seat in the car got off and started stabbing Gupta with a chopper-like weapon. When Gaud intervened, he tried to stab him on the waist. While Gaud escaped to a safe spot nearby, the two accused fled in the vehicle they had come in.
The police said Gupta was taken to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.