A day after Pappu Vasudev, a 60-year-old eatery owner, was shot dead in Lapat Nagar after an argument over a `1,085 food bill, two Delhi Police constables have been suspended for dereliction of duty.
The constables, armed with their service weapons, were on duty at the police picket opposite the eatery. They, however, neither intervened in the scuffle between Vasudev and the assailants nor challenged the attackers. They didn’t even fire at the tyres of the Maruti Swift Dzire car in which the assailants fled, said a police officer.
Mandeep Singh Randhawa, deputy commissioner of police (southeast), said action was taken against the two constables for dereliction of duty. He, however, denied any departmental inquiry was initiated against the two. He said that seven teams led by two ACPs were working on the murder case.
“We have identified the accused, who are residents of south Delhi. Raids are on to nab them. The case will be cracked soon,” he said.
The official driver and wireless operator of Randhawa were also present at Vasudev’s eatery and getting their food packed when the assailants arrived and opened fire. Locals alleged that like the two constables, Randhawa’s staff, too, failed to react.
Asked what action has been taken against his staff, Randhawa said they were off-duty and were 50-60 metres from the spot where Vasudev was shot.
“It’s not that my staff did not respond. They tried to talk to the four agitated men when one of them went to Vasudev and shot him twice. My staff ran towards Vasudev the moment they saw him holding his abdomen and collapsing on the floor. Vasudev was rushed to the hospital in my official Innova car,” said Randhawa.
He claimed that his staff and the constables at the police picket did not fire at the assailants as the area was dark and congested and 60-70 people were running after the attackers. “The streetlights were off due to the thunderstorm and firing in a dark lane full of people could have hurt anybody,” he said.
Vasudev lived with his family in Amar Colony area. He had been running the eatery, Sindhi Eating House, at Lal Sai Market in Lajpat Nagar for the past 40 years.
He is survived by a child whom he had adopted from an orphanage 11 years ago. Vasudev’s murder came as double blow for his son, Mohit, as his foster mother had died only 13 days ago.