Two unidentified gunmen allegedly opened fire at a city-based builder in his office near the Bombay Hospital on Tuesday. While the builder escaped unhurt, his 45-year-old office guard was killed in the shootout, suspected to have been orchestrated by fugitive underworld kingpin, Chhota Shakeel.
According to the police, the two assailants, aged about 25 years, entered businessman Manish Dholakia’s office in Sharda chambers in South Mumbai at around 3:45 pm. “They entered the office under the pretext of wanting to meet Dholakia. However, the receptionist raised an alarm when she noticed that one of them was carrying a gun,” said Cherring Dorje, deputy commissioner of police (Zone 1).
The police said following this, both assailants fled and were intercepted by the guard, Ajit Aroonkar, who heard the receptionist raise an alarm. “Aroonkar had nearly caught them when one of them fired two rounds at him. One of the bullets hit him (Aroonkar) on the right side of his chest,” said Dorje. He was immediately rushed to Bombay hospital where he died within minutes after his arrival. Dorje said that the police have found the country-made pistol, which the assailants were carrying and which was used to fire at Aroonkar.
Police sources also said that they found one of the assailants’ shirt, which he removed and threw while being chased by Aroonkar.
“Using the assailants’ shirt as evidence, the dog squad found that they ran to the Churchgate station. The trail ended on platform no 2 of the station. They may have escaped in a train from that point,” said a police official.
Manish is the son of Mahesh Dholakia, a hotelier. Mahesh along with his brother Arvind had been gunned down by shooters from the then undivided Arun Gawli-Rama Nayak gang in 1987.
The Dholakia brothers were known for their proximity to Dawood. They acted mostly as informers for the Karachi-based don, passing on information about builders and businessmen who Dawood would fleece later.
Crime branch sources said that Manish, who inherited several properties, had been repeatedly asked by Dawood aide Chhota Shakeel to return. However, he was not paying heed to the warnings. This is suspected to have led to the shootout.