With the arrest of Bhupesh Gupta, a major cable operator from Navi Mumbai, the crime branch claims to have caught someone who could throw light on the conspiracy that culminated in the murder of Vashi-based builder Suni Kumar Loharia, who was shot dead on February 16.
Gupta, who was arrested on Tuesday, was remanded to police custody till May 5 by a holiday court in Thane on Wednesday. A senior crime branch official requesting anonymity, said that Gupta and Loharia were business rivals and had in the past registered police complaints against one another. Loharia had once been arrested in a case registered by Gupta, the official added.
Police said Gupta’s name had cropped up during investigations, following which they launched a hunt for him. The police are currently recording his statement.
The police are also investigating the possibility of an underworld connection, as the name ‘Bandya mama’ a Chotta Rajan operative, was mentioned by one of the accused arrested earlier But nothing concrete has come up so far.
With Gupta, a total of 9 people have been arrested in the case so far. The crime branch is likely to file a charge sheet by May 16, as per sources.
Police suspect that it was professional rivalry between builders which led to the killing of Loharia, and that former encounter specialist Emmanue Amolik was hired to set the plot in motion. Apart from Gupta, so far the police have arrested the shooters Venkatesh Shettiar and Wajid Kureshi, Amolik, developer Sumit Bachewar, contractor Altaf Khan, estate agent Bhaijaan alias Mohammed Ansari, and two others present at the scene.