Gang wars are back. In a throwback to the days when they were a common occurrence in the city, a local gang leader was shot dead and then stabbed inside a bar by rival gang members late on Wednesday at 11.30 pm at Khar (East).
Vijay Pujari alias Batta was shot by members of a rival gang at Sharada Bar in Khar. Pujari and three of his friends -- Chandan Singh, Lokesh and Kamlesh -- were having a drink at the bar when suddenly the main accused, 22-year-old Rahul Sharma, and his accomplices Magic, Ajay Pandit, Viren Thakur, Subhash Shukla and another unidentified suspect barged into the bar and had a heated argument with Batta and his friends.
Soon, the dispute got out of control and Sharma open fired at Batta, following which Sharma’s friends stabbed Batta with choppers several times over.
After the firing, the accused coolly walked out the bar while other patrons tried to escape from the pandemonium.
An investigating officer of the Nirmal Nagar police station said, “On Wednesday afternoon, Batta returned from Pune and as usual went to the bar with his accomplices. The accused walked into the bar, they had a fight and he was killed. Chandan Singh, Batta’s friend, was also injured in the attack.”
Cops said that Batta was becoming a terror in the area and had even attacked Sharma and Magic, who owe allegiance to underworld gangsters.
Around eight months ago, Batta had attacked Sharma and a few of his family members. Following that incident, Batta also assaulted Magic in the Railway Colony area, which is under the authority of alleged gangster Subhash Singh Thakur. After the assaults, Sharma and Magic vowed to exact revenge against Batta, and according to sources that was the reason for the shootout on Wednesday.
Sources also added that Batta’s over-confidence cost him his life, as he did not listen to anyone and had even been warned by Hemant Pujari, an aide of Chhota Rajan.
Inspector Balwant Deshmukh said, “The deceased and the accused have criminal backgrounds. The accused are still at large and we have formed three teams to catch them. They have been charged with murder, attempt to murder and several other sections.”
Batta formed the gang in Khar himself. In recent times, he became very active and was feared by everyone -- from builders to garment traders. Batta worked as a manager in a German-based cargo company. He was married and had three children. A source told MiD DAY that Batta was planning to join politics and had even put up a banner in the area to announce his entry. The source added, “Batta did not leave anyone. He targeted garment company owners, builders and other people and extorted substantial amounts of money from them.”