Vishwas Namdeo Patil (39), the owner of a fleet of tempos, was shot dead on Sunday evening in Rabale industrial area while he was on a picnic with his employees and friends. Eyewitnesses said the killer and his companions claimed to be north Indians.
Patil was also a Nationalist Congress Party ward president from Rabale.
Kader Khan Pathan, who was part of the picnic group, said: “There were nine of us. We come here every month for a picnic. While we were having lunch, a person came for a bath to the nearby pond. Patil asked him to take a bath elsewhere since we were eating there. The man left without saying anything.”
The man returned in about 15 minutes with three other men. They were all armed with revolvers and shot Patil in the temple, killing him instantly, added Pathan. “We couldn’t do anything. It was all very sudden. We ran for our lives. When they saw us running, they said ‘Do you think bhaiyyas (north Indians) are no good?’”
There was tension in the Airoli area after the incident. Police rushed to the spot and beefed up security. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Navi Mumbai, R.D. Shinde, said: “The killers seem to have escaped into the hills. We are combing the area to find them.”