A 28-year-old Shiv Sena worker from Antop Hill was murdered by five persons near his residence in the wee hours of yesterday. Police investigations revealed that the victim, Raju Mistrilal Soni, was threatened on several occasions in the past before yesterday’s fatal attack.
Soni had gone to fill water at 4 am, when the accused on the pretext of discussing an important issue took him to a secluded spot and allegedly beat him to death. The five accused were identified as Niyaz Akbar Hussain, Feroz Ahmad, Nasim Khan, Ebbu and Hafizul, who as per the police information are believed to be to between 25 to 30 years of age. Three are at large, while Ebbu and Hussain were arrested last evening.
Officials of the Wadala TT police station said the accused killed Soni because he refused to give protection money, which the killers had been demanding on a weekly basis. However a family member expressed doubt over the involvement of one of Soni’s friends in his murder.
Senior Police Inspector Suresh Bhavar of the Wadala TT police station said, “The victim, along with his brother, had started a video parlour in Bhartiya Kamla Nagar where they resided. The accused would constantly ask for money, terming it protection money, which Soni refused.” Officials said Soni’s brother Phoolchand was present at the spot with six others. But they were threatened by the accused when they tried to save Soni.
Soni’s friend Faryad Khan said, “We were with Soni till 2.30 am. We then took a taxi and dropped him home, and we went ahead. While we were returning, Phoolchand called us and said that some people had taken Raju with them and he looked scared. We followed Phoolchand to the spot where the goons had taken Raju and were stunned to see that they were beating Raju. When we tried to rescue him, they threatened us with dire consequences.”
SPI Bhavar said, “Ebbu, Ahmad and Khan were involved in a murder case in 2008, while Ebbu and Hussain had allegedly hit a person with a bottle on his head after he didn’t allow them to consume alcohol at his residence in 2011.”
All five have been booked under IPC sections 302 (punishment for murder), 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt), 143 (punishment), 144 (joining unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapon), 146 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon) and 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence).