A vicious gang of six, in their late teens to early 20's, went on a two-hour rampage, police say, brutally assaulting whoever resisted.
An 18-year-old Altona man was their first victim. He was allegedly assaulted and robbed while walking along the street and was admitted to the Western Hospital in Footscray with head injuries.
A Williamstown man, 27, was then allegedly assaulted in Lyons St, Williamstown about 11pm, just before the alleged attack on Dr Haikerwal, a former Victorian and Federal president of the Australian Medical Association. Both suffered head injuries and were taken to the Western Hospital.
Dr Haikerwal was struck on the head with a baseball bat which fractured his skull, and then repeatedly kicked as he lay on the ground at the Dennis Reserve, near his home.
Dr Haikerwal, 47, underwent neurosurgery at the Western Hospital to remove blood clots from his brain and was woken from an induced coma yesterday and is in a stable condition.
His wife, Karyn, and their sons, Suresh, Ajaya and Jeevan, are keeping a bedside vigil.
The next alleged attack was on a 52-year-old Elsternwick man who had his mobile phone stolen, while walking along York Street, Yarraville about 11:15pm. He also suffered head injuries in the attack and was taken to the Western Hospital.
A 24-year-old Footscray man later reported an alleged robbery that happened about 11.45pm in Hocking Street, West Footscray.
Detectives are currently speaking to the victims to try and help identify the youths.
"There were five significant incidents in public places, we are sure there are people out there with information that could assist our investigation and urge them to come forward," Detective Senior Sergeant Kieran Moloney said.
Earlier today Victorian Premier John Brumby said he was appalled by the attack on Dr Haikerwal.
"It's a callous, cowardly (and) it's a disgusting act and how anybody can go around beating somebody with a baseball bat - I don't understand that and police will get the people concerned," he said.
He said he knew Dr Haikerwal personally and was relieved his condition had improved.
"Police believe that the same group may have struck previously and police intend to get the people who have committed this shocking crime.
"I can only wish Mukesh and his family a speedy recovery."