Four men who forced a cigarette vendor to open his shop in New Delhi at gunpoint were arrested after one of them opened fire at policemen, who fired gunshots in the air and overpowered them, officials said on Thursday. Two others escaped.

Police said the incident took place around 11 pm on Wednesday in Connaught Place when six persons thrashed the vendor and told him to reopen his shop to sell them cigarettes.

The four who were arrested were identified as Aman Bhatia, Puneet, Sahil and Kamal, Deputy Commissioner of Police BK Singh told IANS.

Bhatia, who was released from jail a month ago, after serving a sentence for murder, fired at the police when they intervened. But the bullet did not hit anyone.

“The police then fired in the air and all the four criminals were arrested. One of them, Sahil, was also thrashed by a crowd,” Singh said.

He said a police team was checking vehicles on Sardar Bhagat Singh Marg when they were told that five or six persons were beating a shopkeeper.

“A pistol was recovered from Bhatia,” the officer added.

All the accused, between 25 and 30 years, are residents of Uttam Nagar in west Delhi. A hunt has been launched for the two men who fled, the officer added.

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