Mumbai: A 43-year-old wine shop owner was shot dead at point blank range by two masked men in Goregaon(E) on Sunday. The owner of Goregaon Wine Shop, Sajnish Singh Chawla and his assistant Kamlesh Yadav,30, had just shut shop at 11.15pm and the duo were walking towards Chawla’s car parked 100 metres away from the shop.
“Around 11.20pm, Chawla was waylaid by two masked men who came on foot, one of them brandished his pistol, held it to Chawla’s forehead and fired one round at point blank range,” said a police officer.
The bullet, which was fired below his forehead under the left ear, emerged through his cheek. Chawla fell on the road and the shooters, police said, ran away with his bag that contained Rs 4 lakh in cash. The clothes of his assistant Yadav were stained with Chawla’s blood but the former was unhurt.
“After the shooters ran away, Yadav came to Chawla who was writhing in pain. Hearing the gunshot, other staff members of the wine shop going in other directions rushed to the spot. Meanwhile, a mobile van of Vanrai Police also reached the crime scene within five minutes. Chawla was first rushed to Jogeshwari Trauma Centre. His relatives were informed. All of them reached the trauma centre and then they decided to take him to Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital in Andheri (W) where he was declared dead before admission,” said another police officer.
His body was sent to JJ Hospital for post mortem at 4am on Monday. Because of lengthy paperwork, post mortem began at 4 pm. His body was claimed by his elder brother Sumeet.
The autopsy report revealed that ‘Chawla died of haemorrhage and shock due to fire arm injury.’ However, his viscera sample has been preserved for chemical analysis.
“He was carrying only Rs. 4 lakh cash in the bag. He was waylaid by masked men. One of them first shot him dead and later they snatched his cash bag. Someone close to him was keeping track of his movements and tipped off the shooters. It seems to be a pre-planned murder,” said Chirag Chawla, Sajnish’s cousin. His brother Sumeet said, “This does not look like a robbery. The cash bag has been snatched to mislead police investigation.”
The zonal Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Vinay Kumar Rathod said, “A case has been registered under sections of murder (302) and robbery (397) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) against unknown men. The CCTV footage is being scrutinised. We will nab the shooters soon.”
The crime branch is also conducting a parallel investigation in the case.
Chawla lived with his wife and two children in Vasant Galaxy in Malad (W). His elder brother and the complainant Sumeet Singh Chawla lives in Lokhandwala, Andheri (W). Their parents live in Juhu. Chawla’s family is well-off and are in the business of property brokerage, real estate construction and wine shops.
One of Chawla’s family friends told The Free Press Journal that Sumeet, the eldest of the Chawla siblings, was like a father figure to them. “One of the sisters is settled in Nashik while the other is in Australia. Sumeet helped Sajnish open the wine shop in Goregaon nearly 10 years ago”.
Sajnish’s funeral is expected to take place after his sister reaches Mumbai from Australia on Tuesday.