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Loharia murder: Cops suspect architect's driver, a key link, killed too

Crime Branch tells court that accused architect Anurag Garg’s driver, who allegedly delivered the money for the murder contract, went missing since Loharia’s murder

In a new twist in builder Sunil Loharia’s murder case, the Mumbai Crime Branch told a Thane court yesterday that a driver of architect Anurag Garg went missing since the time Loharia was killed. The police suspect he may have been killed, too.

Navi Mumbai builder Sunil Loharia
Navi Mumbai builder Sunil Loharia

The driver, Prashant Kamble, was a key link in the case, as he had delivered the ‘supari’ money from Garg to another accused, Jackson. Jackson, in turn, gave it to an ex-cop, ‘encounter specialist’ Emanuel Amolik, who had allegedly accepted the contract for the killing. On February 16, 2013, Loharia was shot dead in broad daylight by two men who, after gunning him down, garlanded him.

The Crime Branch, which took over the case from the Navi Mumbai police, have so far arrested 12 suspects in connection with the murder of the Navi Mumbai builder. Prominent builder Suresh Bijlani, Sumeet Bachchewar, and Emmanuel Amolik were nabbed, and after 14 months of search, architect Anurag Garg, a key suspect, was arrested.

The theory is that Loharia knew Garg was doing rampant illegal construction in the Navi Mumbai area, and had filed several RTI applications to collect information on the projects he was building. He had also written to an architects’ body in Delhi to cancel Garg’s licences.

The Crime Branch was hunting for Garg since day one, after shooters Wajid Qureshi and Venkatesh Shettiar were arrested and revealed the involvement of Amolik to cops. Then, the names of the Bijlani brothers, Bacchewar and Garg also cropped up.

“Garg stayed in inns in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and other northern states for 14 months, and later surrendered to the police. Now, we have learnt that he had given the supari money of Rs 10 lakh to his driver Prashant Kamble, who delivered it to Jackson.

We have recorded the statement of Jackson, who said he got the cash and gave it to Amolik,” said a Crime Branch officer. “But now Kamble, the key link, is missing. We suspect he might be killed,” he added. Garg has been sent to judicial custody till June 2.

Case history
On February 16, Sunil Loharia, a prominent builder in Navi Mumbai, was shot dead outside his Sector 28 office in Vashi. The police have arrested 12 persons, including the two shooters, Venkatesh Shettiar and Wajid Qureshi, former ‘encounter specialist’ Emmanuel Amolik, Sumeet Bachchewar, Bhupesh Gupta, Francis Chawri, Altaf Aftab Khan, Mohammed Nasir Ansari alias Bhaijan and prime accused Suresh Bijlani.

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