Lohariya murder was well-planned: Police

The murder of builder S K Lohariya was carefully planned, police claimed Monday. They said had one of the two assailants - Venkatesh Shettiar not been caught by passersby, the well-thought-out plan would have succeeded.

Shettiar and accomplice Wajid Qureshi made the kill purely as a service to retired police inspector and former encounter specialist Emmanuel Amolik, to whom they have been loyal for years. They did not take money.

Lohariya was stabbed and gunned down by Shettiar and Qureshi outside his office in Kopar Khairane Saturday morning.

Both Amolik, who ordered the kill, and Qureshi were subsequently arrested, latter from Mumbra.

Police interrogation of the three over the last two days has revealed some interesting facts.

"Shettiar was arrested by Amolik for a murder in 2006 when he was with Navi Mumbai Anti-Extortion Cell. Qureshi was a local contact of Amolik when he was with Thane Crime Branch. He developed both as informants," said a Vashi police officer.

Police said the killers did not think Shettiar would be arrested.

"Shettiar and Qureshi met at Vashi railway station Saturday morning and went to the office of Lohariya. They waited for the builder to arrive. After the murder, Qureshi threw his cellphone and shirt in a gutter. He then went to a local barber and got his head shaved. Shettiar was to discard his security guard uniform and shave his head as well," the officer said.

Sunday, when Amolik was called for questioning, he stood near the gate of Vashi police station for a long time, till an officer told him to come in.

He reportedly told the officer he would come in "after having a few puffs".

Police said people who know they are headed to the lock-up and will not come out soon often say such things.

"Amolik has confessed to ordering the hit after an altercation with Lohariya a month ago," Navi Mumbai police commissioner A K Sharma said.

Police are digging the past of Shettiar. Apart from the 2006 murder for which he was arrested, there are several cases against the BDD Chawl, Naigaon, resident.

Vashi Police are gathering details of all these cases.

Shettiar has also worked on contract for some gangs in the past.

Interrogating officers called him a "sarfira" (crazy). They said he had little regard for rank or seniority of cops questioning him.

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