Two youths walked into the office of a real estate developer in Howrah on Friday, demanded money at gunpoint and fired at him in the presence of employees when refused.
The incident occurred around 6.45pm when Danesh Sheikh Lane, close to where the office is located, was bustling with people but the attackers managed to escape.
Devendra Kumar Singh was seated in the ground-floor office of his company — Rajput Developers — in a bylane off Danesh Sheikh Lane along with his manager Ratnesh Singh and a few other staff members when three youths arrived on a motorbike.
Two of the youths stepped into the office while the third waited outside with the bike’s ignition on. “The youths pointed a gun at Singh and demanded money. They said they had been demanding money for some time and refused to budge without the cash,” said an employee of the developer present at the time of the attack. “When Singh refused, one of the youths fired. One bullet hit the table and another a wall.”
The sound of gunshots alerted local residents, some of whom came rushing to the office. But the youths ran out and rode away on the bike along with their accomplice.
Eyewitnesses have told police that the youths didn’t have their faces covered. The Shibpur police have started a case of attempt to murder.
Company insiders said Singh has been receiving extortion calls from different numbers for the last six months. The callers allegedly identified themselves as associates of Felu, an extortionist now in Howrah jail.
“It seems the youths are close associates of Felu. His associates are trying to collect money for his trial,” said a senior officer of the police station.
This is not the first time a promoter has been targeted in Howrah in the recent past. Extortionists had fired at a real estate developer in Howrah’s Banksara last year.
The chairman-in-council of Rishra Municipality was allegedly shot at on a local train on Friday.
Bijoy Sagar Mishra turned up at Rishra police station with a bullet injury in his right leg. He told police that he was returning from Uttarpara when he was attacked. Mishra was travelling without security. Police have started a probe.
Railway officials said a search on the Howrah-Bandel local had not yielded clues.