A minor altercation over the quality of food served at a “dhaba” at Connaught Place in the heart of the Capital early on Sunday morning turned violent when a group of three friends allegedly beat up the waiter at the eatery in a bid to force him to eat their leftover food and then fired a shot at him.

The bullet, however, missed the target and hit the roof. One of the accused, Rajesh, has been arrested, while his friends, Neeraj and Vishal, are absconding.

The trio reached “Jain Dhaba” near Shivaji Stadium in a Santro car around 5-30 a.m. and reportedly ordered “parathas” for breakfast. After a few bites, the customers complained that they had been served leftover food and a heated argument followed. Rajesh, who himself runs a food stall in Uttam Nagar, tried to force waiter Monu (22) to eat his leftover food to prove his point that they had been served stale food, but Monu refused to oblige. At this, Rajesh along with his friends beat up Monu and some passers-by gathered at the spot hearing the waiter scream for help and tried to intervene.

Undeterred, an enraged Rajesh pulled out a pistol and opened fire at Monu, said a senior police officer. But the bullet missed the target and hit the roof of the “dhaba” near the entrance. It led to a ruckus and several people gathered at the “dhaba” on hearing the gunshot.

Sensing danger, the trio tried to escape. But soon constable Dharambir, who was on patrolling duty in the area, reached the “dhaba” and managed to catch Rajesh. His two accomplices, however, managed to escape on foot.

The .32 bore pistol from which the shot was fired and two live cartridges have been seized. A Santro car, which bore a Delhi registration number and belonged to the accused, was also impounded.

“We have definite leads on the two accused and raids are being conducted to arrest them. It is also being verified whether Rajesh and his friends have any previous criminal involvements,” said the officer.

Rajesh, a resident of Uttam Nagar, also runs a gymnasium, the police sources said. Monu, the victim, is a resident of Uttar Pradesh.

A case of attempt to murder and under several sections of the Arms Act has been registered at the Connaught Place police station in this connection.

More In: Delhi