Ex-encounter specialist held for builder killing

FP

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 had been caught after the killing, and the police said the Mumbra accused, Wajid Qureshi, was the second killer. However, the 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, the police said.

"Shettiar said during interrogation that the murder was committed at Amolik's behest," said senior inspector Raosaheb Sardesai. Shettiar had also claimed to know Amolik 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 a property dispute, were being probed.

Qureshi (28) is believed to have been the one who shot and stabbed Lohariya. Information provided by Shettiar led the police to him.

"The accused were carrying the coconut and garland in their hands (at the time of the murder) as an excuse to loiter around. When a watchman asked them not to loiter near the office, they told him they had to deliver a parcel to someone," Sardesai said.

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