A physically challenged shopkeeper was allegedly attacked with a sword in suburban Chembur in Mumbai for raising his voice against a group of drug addicts who used to extort money from the shopkeepers in the area. Four persons have been arrested, police said on Thursday.
The incident took place on Tuesday evening when the main accused Akram Sheikh (28) entered the shop of Rajnish Thakur (36) at PL Lokhande Marg in Chembur and attacked him with a sword, Tilak Nagar police station's senior inspector Bhagwat Sonawane said.
Thakur, who is physically challenged, was saved from the attacker by a customer inside the shop who managed to overpower Sheikh, he said adding that the accused is part of a gang of drug addicts which has been extorting money from shopkeepers since sometime.
The incident was captured in a CCTV camera installed in the shop, Sonawane said adding that with its help, they managed to nab four members of the gang.
The four men were arrested on Wednesday and were remanded to police custody till Friday by a local court, he said adding that search was on for two more persons in this connection.
Meanwhile, the shopkeeper was admitted to a nearby hospital, police said.
According to Thakur's brother Manish, a group of drug addicts had been allegedly trying to extort Rs 1,500-2,000 every month from the 200 odd shops on PL Lokhande Marg area of Chembur while threatening to damage their establishments if the money was not given.
"My brother and I had distributed pamphlets and put up small posters outside shops in Chembur so that the shopkeepers refuse to pay the extortion money," he claimed.
"In last one-and-a-half month we had informed police thrice about threats for extortion from junkies in the area. But, neither preventive nor any other appropriate action was taken," he alleged.
"Few days back, my brother and I had taken a group of shopkeepers to DCP (Zone VI) and informed him about the constant threats. The DCP had instructed the concerned police personnel to take action against the culprits," he said.
However, no action was taken by the police. Were the cops waiting for such an untoward incident or someone to die for taking action against the hooligans? he asked.
DCP (Zone VI) Sangram Singh Nishandar was unavailable for comments in this regard.