Builder killed in Navi Mumbai

A builder was stabbed repeatedly by two men who then shot him five times on the pavement outside his office in Navi Mumbai on Saturday morning. Locals pulled one of the two killers off the pillion of a motorcycle as they tried to escape, and beat him badly. The builder, Sunil Kumar, who owned S K Brothers Co., was declared dead in hospital.

The alleged killers — seen wearing uniforms of private security guards in CCTV footage — waylaid Kumar as he got off his white BMW and walked to the gate of his office building on Khopar-khairane Road in Sector 29. One of them was carrying a wooden stool, the other a coconut and marigold garlands, according to witness accounts and images captured by CCTV camera. They footage shows one of the assailants smash the coconut on Kumar's head and, as he crumples, stab him repeatedly in the chest and stomach.

Police have recovered a severed thumb from the scene, suggesting that Kumar tried to stop the assailants. They have also recovered a weapon of Italian make. DCP (Zone 1), Navi Mumbai, Purushottam Karad, said five bullets were pumped into Kumar at close range.

The men threw the garlands on the body and attempted to flee the spot. However, passersby chased their bike and yanked the pillion rider, Venkatesh Shettiyar (35), off and assaulted him brutally. The other assailant sped away.

Police said Kumar dealt in plots in Navi Mumbai and Kharghar, and had several other businesses in Mumbai and Delhi. Police sources said professional rivalry could be a motive for the murder, as Kumar had a history of applying for details on plot deals by other builders under the RTI Act, and allegedly use the information for extortion.

"S K Builders is associated with land dealings. They have also built a couple of residential buildings in Navi Mumbai," Rajesh Prajapati, president of Maharashtra Chamber of Housing, said.

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