Using hammers and choppers, goons attack RTI activist

The activist, who earlier this year helped bust a betting racket, claims the same offenders are responsible for the attack that occurred in Kandivali

A Right To Information (RTI) activist from the suburb of Kandivli was brutally attacked by two unidentified individuals carrying a chopper and hammer when he was returning home on Friday evening.

Mehul Kataria. PIC/ Mahesh Chafe

The victim, 39 year-old Mehul Kataria, who works for a multinational corporation, alleged that the attackers wanted to kill him and had he not created a ruckus, they would have been successful. The incident occurred when he was returning home after visiting a men's salon.

Apart from an injured wrist, Kataria's skull has apparently been fractured, and some parts of it lodged close to his brain. Kataria was taken to Bhagawati Hospital in Borivli and later shifted to Life Line, a private hospital in Malad.

The police are currently investigating the case. Senior Inspector of Kandivli police station, Hareshwar Pimple said, "We have registered an FIR under section 324 (causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) but no one has been arrested so far."

Kataria believes he was attacked because he had helped policemen bust a betting racket during the cricket World Cup earlier this year. According to him, "Rakesh Rathod alias Rajnish, Rajesh Nagaria (who are both reportedly bookies) and Kamlesh Gupta (a private financier in Malad with close ties with bookies) are behind the attack."

In January, Kataria had tipped off city crime branch chief Himanshu Roy about a betting racket run by Rajnish and Nagaria in Malad. The crime branch then raided a betting venue, and arrested a certain Mitesh Modi, along with three other individuals. Around Rs 3.5 lakh in cash, 16 mobile phones and two laptops were seized. After the incident, Kataria claims he began receiving threats from Gupta.

Three months ago, after approaching the Bombay High Court, the police was ordered to provide protection to Kataria, but nothing came of it, he claims.

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