Man kills girl, shot dead by cops

Ex-customs official took the 16-year-old hostage over dispute with neighbours

Man kills girl, shot dead by cops

Saujanya Apartments at Andheri in North West Mumbai, where the shooting took place. Courtesy NDTV

Identified as Harish Marolia (65), the former customs officer picked up a quarrel with Himani Mehta who lived a floor above Marolia at Saujanya Apartment complex in the Andheri suburb of North West Mumbai. The dispute was allegedly over some repair work and the noise it created.

“Marolia was angry about the noise due to some carpentry work in that house,” Additional Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said.

Violent action
The police said that on Thursday morning, Marolia had an altercation with Himani’s family, following which he grabbed her in a fit of rage and took her inside his apartment.
He tried to hold her captive when the girl’s family called in the police.

Himani, however, did not belong to the Dalal family with whom the officer practising law since his retirement had a dispute, the police maintained.

Himani was returning home after taking an SSC examination. The former customs official quarrelled with the building secretary and the Dalal family, to whose house Himani was visiting, over the work and then prevented the workers from entering the building.

Disproportionate force
In what appears to be a case of use of disproprtionate force, an assault team of the D N Nagar police station rushed to the apartment complex in an effort to rescue the girl.
But the operation turned out to be a blunder as Marolia immediately opened fire, killing first the girl and then injuring two policemen. Without attempting to use passive force or negotiators, the cops returned fire, injuring the customs officer. He was taken to the hospital where he was declared brought dead.

Justifying the police’s action, Gupta said: “When our men got no response they broke open the door to rescue the girl. Marolia fired at them, forcing them to fire back and severely injuring the accused. When our men entered the flat, the girl was lying on the floor with a bullet wound.”

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