The owner of a city-based Indian snack food chain, whose packaged savouries is a brand-name within India as well as abroad, was convicted in an attempt-to-murder case along with four others by a city sessions court here on Wednesday.

Prabhu Shankar Aggarwal and four others were found guilty of conspiring and attempting to murder a tea- stall owner in March 2005.

Public prosecutor Biswajit Dey told The Hindu on Wednesday: “After examining all the circumstantial evidences against Mr. Aggarwal who owns the Haldiram Bhujiawala chain, Judge Tapan Sen found the five persons guilty in the attempt-to-murder case. The quantum of punishment will be declared on January 29.”

The target, Pramod Sharma, was shot at by miscreants early on March 30 and one of the bullets hit his leg. He, however, survived the attack.

According to the first information filed by Mr. Sharma, he owns a tea-stall in front of one of the outlets of Mr. Aggarwal’s food chain in Burrabazar – the bustling wholesale market of the city.

Mr. Sharma had alleged that Mr. Aggarwal had tried to evict him from the spot by initially offering him money and later threatening him with life when he refused to oblige.

The police first arrested Mr. Aggarwal based on Mr. Sharma’s FIR. Subsequent interrogation of Mr. Aggarwal revealed that he had roped in four other persons - Gopal Tewary, Arun Khandelwal, Manoj Sharma and Raju Sonkar – to evict Mr. Sharma. They, too, were arrested.

Criminal charges under sections 307/34 and 307/120B of the Indian Penal Code and sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act were pressed against them.

To appeal

While the defence counsel for Mr. Aggarwal could not be contacted, defence counsel for another convict, Mr. Khandelwal, said that his client will appeal at the Calcutta High Court once the punishment is declared.