Shot at by customers, eatery owner dies

New Delhi: The 60-year-old owner of an eatery in southeast Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar area, who was shot at following a heated argument with a group of customers over payment of bill, succumbed to injuries in the wee hours today.

Vasudeo alias Pappu, owner of an eatery in Lajpat Nagar 3, sustained two bullets last night. He was rushed to the AIIMS Trauma Centre where he died around 3 AM today, a senior official said.

The incident took place between 10 and 10.30 PM yesterday when a group of men, who had come to Pappu’s eatery, had an argument over the bill of Rs 1,085 for the food they had purchased.

When Vasudeo intervened, one of them held him by his collar and threatened him with dire consequences. Later, they dropped a Rs 1,000 note there and left the scene only to return within minutes looking for Vasudeo, the official said.

One of them pulled out a gun and fired in the air. When Vasudeo stepped forward to confront the group, one of them, who was wearing a white T-shirt, allegedly pumped two bullets in his chest.

The group, chased by Vasudeo’s staff, started running towards the Ring Road. They were last seen boarding a Maruti Swift car, bearing an Uttar Pradesh registration number.

Following an alarm raised by the eatery staff, a team from the nearest police post tried to chase the car but the accused dodged them taking advantage of the dark, as streetlights in Lajpat Nagar area were not functioning after the dust storm, a senior official said.

The images of the assailants could not be captured by any of the CCTV cameras in the neighbourhood, largely because of darkness. However, investigators managed to take note of the car’s registration number, except for two digits in the last four-digit part, the official said.

Police have acquired a list from Uttar Pradesh Transport Department (as the car had a UP registration number) with details on the same and they are in the process of shorlisting Maruti Swift models.

Initially, it appeared that there were three persons involved in the act but it turned out that there was a fourth accused present as well.

A case of murder has been registered in connection with the incident and efforts are on to track down the accused at the earliest, the official added.