Two back to back brazen firing incidents targeting businessmen engaged in liquor business has outraged the business community of Chandigarh. Many city businessmen questioned the efficiency of the UT police and said that such incidents in public view in broad daylight showed that criminals do not fear the police.
Liquor baron Arvind Singla, who was the target of four assailants who fired 17 bullets at the house of Singla’s brother in Sector 33, said, “It is laughable and stunning also. Nobody can imagine that this could happen in the capital of two powerful states – Punjab and Haryana. I do not know who they were. But they want to create panic and scare among the elite class of the city. I have not received any threat calls but the intention of assailants was to scare me. I own around 500 liquor vends in this region. Can you imagine, I deposit Rs 2.50 crore to Rs 3 crore every day to the state. I was even given protection by the Punjab police. But assailants came near my house in broad daylight and fired bullets at my house. Chandigarh police has to do something.”
Ram Avtar Batra, owner of Indian and Imported Liquor House, was sitting inside his vend in Sector 9 Tuesday evening when two masked men arrived and fired half a dozen bullets on the vend in full public view and easily escaped.
A liquor contractor, who owns two dozen vends in the Tricity, requesting anonymity, said, “Organised interstate gangs are behind these incidents. They want to scare us for extorting money. The problem will worsen in the coming days. Frankly, police will never manage to get hold of the real culprits behind these incidents. Earlier, criminals used to extort money from hoteliers, disco owners, and late night club runners but now they are shifting towards businessmen dealing in liquor trade.”
President of Chandigarh Industrialists Association, MPS Chawla said, “It shows the deteriorating law and order situation in Chandigarh. Indeed, during COVID-19 lockdown, police did commendable job but the sudden rise in crime now shows that the police needs to shift its focus towards the prevention and detection. It is also the intelligence failure. The business class is not secure in Chandigarh these days. Apparently, powerful people are behind these crimes. There is no coordination among police authorities of Chandigarh and those of the neighboring districts.”
Charanjit Singh, Chairman Chandigarh Vyapar Mandal, said, “Cops have to increase their presence and make strong the beat system in Chandigarh. Yesterday, two men fired bullets in Sector 9 market and there was not a single uniformed policeman in the market. Police have to do something. It is a dangerous trend in the city.”
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