Man traces ‘Shiv Sainik’ who ransacked his pub

Cops arrest attacker, say will find others in the mob.

A man identified by a soda pub owner as part of a mob that attacked his shop on November 14 to force its closure after news of Bal Thackeray's deteriorating health spread in the city has been arrested by police.

Sopan Karande, believed to be a Shiv Sainik, was arrested after pub owner Vikram Ram tracked him down to a shop nearby and informed police last Friday.

According to police, at 11.30 pm on November 14, when Ram was closing the pub, a person claiming to be a Shiv Sena member told him that Thackeray's condition was critical and the pub should close for the night.

Ram told the man he was anyway closing. Sopan left, only to return with 10 to 15 others when the staff were cleaning up.

Ram said in spite of the pub being empty, the mob abused them, pelted stones at them, ransacked the pub and looted cash from the counter.

Last Friday, Ram learnt that one of the men who attacked him owns a footwear shop close to the pub. Police said Ram went to the shop and recognised Karande as the one who had assaulted him.

"I recognised him as the person who attacked me," said Ram. "He, along with around 10 accomplices, attacked me and my staff and damaged our property," he said.

After tracking down Karande, Ram and his wife informed police, who sent a team for inquiries. Following investigations and verification of Ram's allegations, Karande was arrested.

"We will now trace the others involved," said a Versova police officer.

As the accused had attacked Ram and fled with Rs 20,000 from the pub, Karande has been booked for dacoity as well.

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