Former encounter specialist Emmanuel Amolik, 60, could not stand it if anyone misspelt his first name as Emanuel. During his trigger happy days in the late 1980s, many believed that the ‘M’ stood for merciless, thanks to the controversies he generated through his brazen encounter killings.
In fact, Amolik, a two-time winner of the president’s medal, was among the first batch of officials who brought the gun culture into the police force, which until then had looked helpless with their lathis in dealing with the gun-totting underworld.
For his batch-mates, seniors and juniors alike, Amolik was a detective to the core. Mild and soft-spoken, with no temptations to lure him, he was unlike most encounter specialists. And beneath his cool demeanour lay a hard-headed officer who didn’t hesitate to execute his operations no matter the consequences.
What also separated Amolik from his colleagues was that unlike others who would operate in groups, Amolik was a solitary hunter. Sources said that many of the 30-odd encounter killings Amolik was responsible for took place without the prior knowledge of his seniors or colleagues.
Amolik, who joined the force in 1976 (first posting in 1978) as a police sub-inspector, drew the maximum negative attention for killing Pathan gang lieutenant Mehmood Kaliya outside Santacruz airport in 1987. Kaliya, who had just arrived in the city from Dubai, was shot dead even as his family members looked on.
Soon after, Amolik was shunted out of the crime branch and later outside Mumbai, never to return. However, he kept inviting controversies. In 1992, he shot dead gangster Babban Koyande in a controversial encounter which almost cost him his job, following a CID inquiry. He was arrested and suspended in 2003, though he wrestled back his job through the courts.
Despite the medals and honours he won, his brazen attitude pulled him down and he retired from the same post that he had started his career in, even as most of his batch-mates retired as assistant commissioners of police.
A year after retirement, Amolik continues to make headlines and finds himself in trouble – on Sunday he was arrested for his alleged involvement in the murder of Navi Mumbai builder Sunil Kumar Loharia.