The Mumbai underworld, which had once given birth to the strong nexus of encounter specialists and the builder lobby, is back in the news with the arrest of former cop Emmanuel Samuel Amolik by the Navi Mumbai police. Samuel, alleged to be operating at the behest of a local builder, got rival developer Sunil Kumar Loharia murdered with the help of contract killers.

The unholy nexus of encounter cops and builders had developed strong roots in the city when the underworld was at its peak. Builders from across the city and its outskirts took shelter under encounter specialists to ensure smooth functioning of their business.

Over a period of years, cops gunned down several extortionists at the behest of real estate developers. Those protected by trigger-happy cops were spared while the rest continued to get harassed by the gangsters. At times cops even mediated deals between the gangsters and the developers.

The network gained ground right under the nose of the superiors, but the involvement of encounter specialists deterred them from taking action. Police commissioners who were then in desperate need of such cops to break the backbone of underworld activities, turned a blind eye towards their actions.

By ensuring safety to builders, the cops bought several benami properties. The unfolding alliance grew so strong over a period of time that it almost operated a parallel government. The builders paid exorbitant money and influenced the transfers of several senior officials including commissioners.

With a series of encounters in the late 90s and thereafter, the underworld witnessed a setback. The builders eventually stopped climbing the stairs of the Crime Branch, which was a major setback to the decade-old coalition. However, with this latest killing, the unholy nexus has surfaced again.