Gazebo firing: Police arrest cousin of main accused, trio still at large
The Khar police on Tuesday arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with the Gazebo shopping centre firing incident
Mumbai: The Khar police on Tuesday arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with the Gazebo shopping centre firing incident. This is the first arrest since the incident six days ago, when three men fired rounds outside the Bandra shopping centre and left a note threatening hawkers selling their wares outside the premises.
Sharik Shaikh, 24, a cousin of one of the three main accused, was picked up from near his Santacruz residence for reportedly being part of the conspiracy and will be produced in the court on Wednesday, a police officer of unit 9 of the Mumbai police crime branch said.
While the three accused have been identified, they are still at large. The crime branch on Tuesday seized the motorbike used by them to flee the spot. The police scrutinized CCTV footage outside the shopping centre, and other areas in Khar and Bandra, which led them to identify the make of the bike which the shooters rode and left at the Bandra railway station. Police suspect that the accused may have boarded a train to flee from the city, a police officer said.
On August 11, at around 7.45pm three men rode up to the shopping centre and fired a few rounds, including at a board, from a country-made pistol. They also left a note written in Hindi which stated that any hawker doing business outside the centre would be killed.
A preliminary probe revealed a dispute between hawkers and a local resident who wanted to acquire a place outside the centre to put up his own stall, a second officer said.
The police are questioning the family members of the suspects, but haven’t got a clue as to their whereabouts. “We have identified the trio. The prime suspect is a resident of Santacruz west. The firing is the result of a rivalry between various gangs that want to take control over hawking in the area. We have learnt that the suspects are from a rival group of hawkers which wants to keep their stalls outside Gazebo shopping centre,” said the police officer.
A case was registered against unidentified persons under section 307 (attempt to murder), 387 (putting or attempting to put a person in fear of death or grievous hurt in order to commit extortion), 506(ii) (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Arms Act at the Khar police station.