Navi Mumbai builder murder: 'Arrested ex-cop had tried to kill Charles Sobhraj in fake encounter'

Former encounter specialist Emmanuel Samuel Amolik, arrested for masterminding the murder of Vashi builder Sunil Kumar Loharia (50), has several prior claims to notoriety, one of them being an attempt to bump off notorious criminal Charles Sobhraj in a fake encounter back in 1986, soon after his arrest from O Coqueiro Bar in Panaji, Goa. Amolik’s superior, retired cop Madhukar Zende, stopped him in time and reprimanded him for harbouring such intentions.

Amolik has been arrested for his role in the murder of Loharia

According to sources in the team that arrested Sobhraj under the leadership of Zende, Amolik was part of it. Sobhraj has often been described with epithets like the ‘serpent’ and ‘criminal of the century’. The incident took place on April 6, 1986, on Sobhraj’s 42nd birthday. At the time, Sobhraj was wanted by cops across the continent, for the murder of several tourists.

Amolik was part of the team under Madhukar Zende that arrested Sobhraj in 1986

While Sobhraj was waiting for an international call in O Coqueiro Bar, Zende, dressed as a tourist, waited in ambush. Sobhraj took the call and emerged. Just as he was about to hitch a ride, Zende walked up to him and said, “Hello, Charles.” Charles indignantly replied, “This is not the way to treat your guests.” As Sobhraj coolly reached into his on the pretext of paying the driver, the ‘tourist’ thrust a revolver in his face. “I know you are Shobhraj. We have met before. I arrested you in Bombay in 1971,” Zende told him. Immediately, his assistants rounded up Shobhraj.

Sunil Kumar Loharia

Sources say that soon after Shobhraj was captured in this manner, Amolik started approaching him, pointing the gun towards him. Noticing his advances, Zende stopped Amolik, asking him to step back. Zende, who retired as assistant commissioner of police, claims the distinction of arresting Shobhraj twice, once in 1971 and then again in 1986.

Madhukar Zende
Retired cop Madhukar Zende had reprimanded Amolik for attempting to bump off notorious criminal Charles Sobhraj

After the arrest, the team of cops made it to the headlines. While working in one of the most successful team of Mumbai cops back then, Amolik added several feathers to his cap, arresting several notorious criminals and slaying some dreaded underworld gangsters such as Kalia Mehmood of Dawood’s gang, Chadrashekar Saflia and Manya Surve.

His colleagues remember him as an upright officer with excellent network in the mafia. “Possibly that could be one of the reasons why he was embroiled in controversies. To establish the network, officers, especially so-called encounter specialists, often cross the thin line between the cops and the criminals, unknowingly,” said a colleague who worked with Amolik for almost a year when the latter was posted in the Mumbai Crime Branch.

(Venkatesh Shettiar, who pumped five bullets into Loharia, divulged Amolik’s involvement while being beaten up by a crowd) (Pleading with the cops) “Sir, please look at him, he is hitting me. Look at him sir, they are hitting me, tell them not to hit me. Officer, look they are me hitting me on the head with a stone.”

Venkatesh Shettiar
Venkatesh Shettiar who confessed to the crime

“Sir, enquire with Amolik sahib, he knows me very well Amolik sir, who is posted at Vashi police station. Ask Pirzade saheb, I am in good terms with them. They hit me with the stone, call Amolik sir and ask him. Call PSI Amolik and ask him whether he knows Shettiar, he will tell you.” (Provides Amolik’s phone number) “Officer please take me to the hospital, otherwise I might die. Sir, tell him, he is hitting me with his leg. I am not able to get up sir please, they hit me on my back.”

Amolik was arrested in 2003 for killing a gangster Baban Kayande in an allegedly fake encounter in Ulhasnagar in 1992. Amolik was dismissed from service. 

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