After the Palghar police recently raided a hookah parlour, its owner was arrested on Monday for allegedly conspiring to poison an employee of a pizza shop next to it in Vasai (West). According to the police, the accused, Aftab Ashfaq Parikh, 36, believed that the victim, Jitendra, had given a tip-off to the police, which had led to the raid.
Eight days ago, the police had carried out the raid and booked Parikh under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COPTA). Jitendra’s elder brother Dipesh, told mid-day that his brother called him and narrated the story after he was attacked.
Dipesh said his brother works as a chef at a pizza store in Dattani shopping mall. After work, Jitendra was about to catch an autorickshaw when a driver, with two passengers inside, approached him and asked him if he wanted to board the vehicle. “The two passengers inside got down and asked my brother to sit in the middle. After a while, the two passengers caught his hands and legs and forcefully poured liquid into his mouth.”
They threw the victim at a secluded place after which Jitendra called his brother and narrated the ordeal. “My brother was poisoned and is admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU),” Dipesh said.
The investigating officer Sahebrao Kachare told mid-day that a case under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 120B (conspiracy), 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered. “We have arrested Parikh who had threatened Jitendra after we carried out a raid at the Hukka Parlour ‘The 3 Crowns – Sheesha Cafe’ around eight days ago. This has agitated Parikh, as the parlour had shut down,” Kachare said. He added that Parikh had been misunderstood that Jitendra had passed the tip off to the police after which the raid was conducted.
“We are scanning the CCTV footage of the incident, but the registration number of the vehicle is not legible. The accused will be arrested soon,” he added. Parikh was produced before a Vasai court and will be in police custody till February 12.