In a shocking development, district-level cricket player-cum-coach from Bhandup was brutally attacked with choppers near a petrol pump shortly before midnight, police said here on Friday. The victim, Rakesh Panvar was with a female friend at the time when three unknown persons pounced on them near Mahavir Petrol Pump in the north-eastern suburb of Mumbai.

According to a police officer, bleeding profusely and seriously injured Panvar was rushed by the petrol pump to Mulund General hospital where he was declared brought dead around 12.30 am today. “We have registered a case of murder against three unknown persons and a manhunt is on,” said the police officer investigating the attack in which Panvar was found lying face down in a pool of blood in the petrol station premises.

In his mid-thirties, and very popular among the local cricketing fraternity, Panvar is survived by his wife and two minor children. The police are recording the statement of the female friend present at the time of the incident who is also an eye-witness, and scanning the CCTV footage of the petrol station and nearby areas to ascertain the identify of the attacker-trio and where they might have escaped.

The police are also investigating various probable motives behind Panvar’s killing like professional rivalry, previous enmity and relationship issues.