Koli Fayaz’s son Pappu, gang, suspects
A goods carrier carrying crates of fish merchandise worth Rs. 12 lakh was set on fire in Russell Market early Friday.
Fire and Emergency Services officials said they received a call around 3.10 a.m. and were able to save only Rs. 8 lakh-worth merchandise. They suspect excessive heat generated by the vehicle’s battery triggered the fire.
However, shopkeepers in the area rubbished it saying they suspect arson planned by Pappu, late gangster Koli Fayaz’s son, and his associates, who had been released from jail recently after serving a sentence.
One of them told The Hindu that Pappu and his men were extortionists who regularly threatened them and took away crates of merchandise.
A fish merchant said the gang had been harassing shopkeepers again and some 40 victims had filed a complaint with the Shivajinagar police on Thursday. He suspects this may have provoked the gang to set fire to the goods carrier.
The Shivajinagar police confirmed that the gang of three or four members had attacked Shafi and Bukhari, the driver and cleaner, and chased them away. The vehicle was found burnt thereafter. They have booked a case of attempt to murder against the gang, which is absconding.
Power still off
Meanwhile, Mohammed Idris Choudhary, general secretary, Russell Market Merchants’ Association, said the authorities not restoring power supply to the market added to merchants’ problems. “After 5 p.m., the market runs on generators. We have been struggling for the past 10 months and are fed up.”
Traders and shopkeepers, Mr. Choudhary said, had raised the issue several times before in vain and sought the intervention of Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, Police Commissioner B.G. Jyothi Prakash Mirji and Bescom Managing Director P. Manivannan to restore the power supply that had been cut in a devastating fire in February this year.