Ex-encounter specialist held for builder killing

Builder murder

A day after builder S K Lohariya was gunned down in broad daylight outside his office in Vashi, the police Sunday arrested a retired encounter specialist and a youth from Mumbra for the murder.

One of the two assailants involved had been caught minutes after the murder, and the police said the Mumbra resident arrested on Sunday, Wajid Qureshi, was the second killer. However, the exact motive behind the murder remains unclear.

According to the Vashi police, retired police inspector Emmanuel Amolik was arrested from his Navi Mumbai residence after his name came up during the interrogation of the first arrested accused, Venkatesh Shettiar. Amolik retired as a police inspector in 2011 and is currently working as a director with a private firm in JNPT (Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust), the police said.

"Shettiar claimed during interrogation that the murder was committed at Amolik's behest," said senior inspector, Vashi police station, Raosaheb Sardesai. Shettiar, who was dressed as a security guard along with the other assailant at the time of the crime, had also claimed to know Amolik minutes after he was arrested.

The police said they had found out that Amolik and Lohariya had been in an argument around a month ago in Vashi. "The argument, according to information so far, started after Amolik nearly got run over by Lohariya's car. Amolik claims that in the heat of the argument, Lohariya threatened him with a revolver," said Additional Commissioner of Police (Navi Mumbai) Fatehsingh Patil.

The police, however, remained noncommittal as to whether this was the motive behind the murder. Both Patil and Sardesai said that several angles, including dispute over property, were being probed.

"Shettiar first claimed that he had killed Lohariya as the latter had cheated someone out of money over a property deal. Later, he switched tracks and started taking Amolik's name. We are verifying," Patil said.

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