Ex-encounter specialist offers to confess to escape police custody

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Former encounter specialist Emmanuel Amolik, one of three accused arrested for the murder of builder S K Lohariya outside his Vashi office Saturday, tried to evade police custody Friday by offering to confess before a magistrate under CrPC section 164. The move, however, was opposed by police and he was remanded with two alleged accomplices till February 27.

Crime branch officers claimed investigation had revealed Amolik was in his car barely 200 metres from the crime scene and spoke to the assailants, Venkatesh Shettiar and Wajid Qureshi, on phone shortly before the murder.

The three were brought to Mumbai from Navi Mumbai late Thursday night, after the case was handed over to Mumbai Police Crime Branch on the orders of the state home department.

They were produced in Esplanade court for further custody Friday.

"In the court, lawyer expressed Amolik wished to record his confession under section 164 of CrPC. Any accused whose statement is to be thus recorded is sent to judicial custody and cannot be remanded in police custody thereafter. However, public prosecutors opposed the move," said a crime branch officer.

Police believe Amolik tried to kill two birds with one stone. Had his application been accepted, he would have escaped interrogation by the crime branch and ensured the buck stopped with him. The crime branch would then have had a hard time probing allegations of third party involvement in the murder.

"Amolik was in his car barely 200 metres from where Lohariya was murdered. He sped off shortly after the crime was committed. After Shettiar was caught and exposed Amolik, an ACP-rank officer with Navi Mumbai Police called him up to inform. After initially feigning ignorance, Amolik called the officer back to ask about the case and offered to come down to the police station, saying let the killer take his name in his presence. By the time he was called to the police station, it had been established around 15 calls were exchanged between Shettiar and Amolik on the morning of the murder," said joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy.

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