The police made the seventh arrest in connection with the murder of Navi Mumbai-based builder Sunil Loharia on Tuesday.
Francis Chawri, 38, a resident of Ulhasnagar, was rounded up by the crime branch after his role in the murder cropped up. “He was not only involved in the conspiracy that was hatched in the run up to the murder, but was part of the back-up team that followed the shooters,” Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police, crime, said.
According to Roy, Francis is an old acquaintance of one of the other six arrested, former encounter specialist Emmanuel Amolik, who roped him in to the plan. Francis had two cases of attempted murder registered against him in 2000 and 2006.
Francis had participated in the conspiracy meeting at Mumbra that was held a week before the murder was executed on the streets of Navi Mumbai on February 16, when the two shooters gunned down Loharia in front of his office at Vashi.
Roy added that on the day of the incident, Francis was travelling in a Scorpio jeep along with some other assassins as back-up for the shooters. This would mean if the duo had failed to shoot, or was caught by bystanders during the act, the back-up team would have acted.
Francis received a bagful of money from Amolik the day before the murder, Roy said.