Mumbai: Five held for extortion bid, shooting at two shopkeepers

Five members of a gang have been arrested for allegedly shooting at two shopkeepers in Malad East last week and demanding Rs 5 crore from them, allegedly on the order of jailed criminal Uday Pathak.

A masked man had threatened the owners of a medical store and an imitation jewellery business in Kurar village on Saturday. Police said the shooter fired in the air above each man and handed them a note, threatening to kill them unless they paid Rs 2.5 crore each.

Using CCTV footage, police tracked the masked man to Parel and identified him as Nikhil Rokade (30). Following his arrest, other accused — Pravin Baviksar (22), Vikas Pandey (23), Suraj Sagare (28) and Jeetu Garasiya (30) — were also arrested on Tuesday. Police said they the arrested men were all associates of Uday Pathak, an accused in a quadruple murder in Kurar in 2011. “The accused had met Pathak a week ago when he was produced in a court. Pathak offered them Rs 10,000 each to carry out the job,” said D S Swami, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone XII.

The gang then conducted a recce of the area and identified the two shops. Swami said after acquiring a country-made revolver, the men also did target practice before committing the crime on Saturday.