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Garment shop in Delhi set on fire, third case in same lane since December

The victim family suspects the arson to be the handiwork of two or more “psychotic persons” as a third shop nearby too was allegedly set on fire.

delhi Updated: Mar 29, 2019 02:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Garment shop,delhi,garment
Garment shop in Delhi set on fire, third case in same lane since DecemberPhoto by Sant Arora/HT (Representative Image)

Unidentified scooter-borne men set ablaze a multi-storey garment shop in east Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar in the early hours of Wednesday, three months after another shop owned by the victim’s nephew on the same street was struck in a strikingly similar fashion.

The victim family suspects the arson to be the handiwork of two or more “psychotic persons” as a third shop nearby too was allegedly set on fire. The family said it was likely to be “random acts” as they did not have any enemies.

The “deliberate acts” in both the cases involving the family’s shops were captured by CCTV cameras, but the suspects remain unidentified, leaving the family in a jittery.

The desperation of the arsonist in the first instance, on December 14, showed as his own foot went up in flames as he ran after lighting the shop.

Meghna Yadav, deputy commissioner of police (Shahdara), said the crime was committed by two men on a scooter and that a case of causing mischief by fire had been registered. “The family doesn’t have any enmity with anyone, so we are yet to identify any suspects,” the DCP said, adding she wasn’t immediately aware of the other case of arson.

In that crime that had taken place on December 14, a first information report with the same charges had been registered at Gandhi Nagar police station.

The first of the three blazes had occurred around 4 am on December 11. CCTV footage showed a man lighting the shop’s shutter and hurrying away. Since the damage was restricted to the shutter and no one suspected foul play, no police case had been filed.

The second fire was lit around the same time three days later, at a shop right in front of the first one. CCTV footage showed a man spraying something on the shop’s shutter, setting it on fire after several failed attempts and then running away with his foot on fire. The first floor of the garment shop was destroyed before the fire fighters controlled the fire.

“We thought it was a mishap, but the next morning we found a plastic bottle containing some petrol near the shop. We checked CCTV footage to spot the man lighting my shop. I lost goods worth Rs 30-35 lakh,” said Gulshan Narula, alleging the police showed little interest in cracking the crime despite an FIR.

The family panicked after the same crime was repeated in the early hours of Wednesday at the garment shop owned by Narula’s maternal uncle, Gagan Kapoor, whose four-storey shop is located just five buildings away.

“The entire building was destroyed and I lost goods worth over Rs 1 crore,” said Kapoor. He too checked CCTV footage to find two men on a scooter lighting the building and speeding away. No bottle was found in this case, but that could be because of the heat generated due to the massive flames, said Kapoor.

First Published: Mar 29, 2019 02:41 IST