A property developer with dealings in India and New Zealand was shot dead in broad daylight in Navi Mumbai.
Sunil Lahoria (52), was stabbed repeatedly and later shot dead by two assailants at Vashi on the morning of February 16.
While one of the alleged assailants Venkatesh Shettiyar was arrested shortly after the incident, an erstwhile ‘encounter specialist’ with the Mumbai and Thane police, Samuel Amolik and another accomplice Wajid Qureshi were arrested the following day.
Mumbai City’s crime branch, which is probing Mr Lahoria’s murder, suspects the hand of Mumbai’s underworld hand in the gruesome murder.
According to Police sources, clues led to a member of the gang of underworld don Chhota Rajan, who was close to builder Suresh Bijlani, another suspect in the case.
Shettiar has confessed to the Police that the conspiracy to kill Mr Lahoria was hatched at former encounter specialist Emmanuel Amolik’s office in Vashi a week earlier.
It is understood that the Navi Mumbai Police had rejected an application filed by Mr Lahoria for protection.
Amolik had been repeatedly telling the Police that he had killed Mr Lahoria over a parking row, but the investigating officers said that they have evidence to prove the involvement of Bijlani, architect Anurag Garg and four others.
Preliminary police investigations have revealed that Shettiyar and Qureshi had allegedly killed Mr Lahoria on the instructions of Amolik, who is alleged to have ordered the killing at the behest of the builders’ lobby.
Dying man talks
Mr Lahoria spoke for nearly 90 minutes after he was shot, naming persons who could be behind the attack. His son Sandeep Kumar informed the media that despite being shot five times and stabbed on his neck, his father took the names of people behind this, including suspect Bijlani.
Mr Loharia moved to Navi Mumbai with his family in 2004 from New Zealand and started SK Brothers Construction and Developers.
He and his associates bought huge tracts of land in Navi Mumbai through Bacchewar, an agents to develop a 7000-acre residential township.
In his First Information Report (FIR), Sandeep had said that his father was locked in a dispute with Bacchewar on the extent of the land, saying that it was less.
He also alleged that some of the land documents were forged, with fraudulent entries in the 7/12 Maharastra State Government land extract records.
The murder has again brought the close nexus of the builder-lobby group and the Mumbai’s underworld.
Police investigations will establish the motives for the murder and the increasing link of the nexus but as of now it’s understood from media reports that a personal-professional enmity could have been the cause of Mr Lahoria’s murder with the help of an under-world don.