The investigation into the murder of Vashi-based builder Sunil Kumar Loharia, who was shot dead outside his office last week, was transferred to the Mumbai police crime branch late on Wednesday.
Highly-placed sources in the state home department said the transfer was inevitable, following allegations made by Loharia’s son Sandeep that he had received threat calls from one of the suspects.
The home department was particularly peeved at the Navi Mumbai police’s inaction in rounding up suspects, who Sandeep claims are being shielded by the Navi Mumbai police.
A senior Mumbai police crime branch official said a special team will be formed to investigate the case.
The Thane sessions court, on Wednesday, rejected the interim application in the anticipatory bail sought by two of the suspects. Police indicated that more arrests were likely in the case.
Confirming the rejection of the application, the advocate of one of the suspects said: “My client and another person named by the family sought anticipatory bail from the court today. They also made an interim application to get relief till the decision on the bail application is made. We will proceed with further legal options.”
Sanjeev Kumar, Lahoriya’s brother said, “The fact that these people are applying for anticipatory bail proves they fear arrest by the police. I hope the police arrest them at the earliest.”
Navi Mumbai police commissioner, Ashok Sharma, said, “One of the suspects whose application has been rejected has not given us his passport and is currently in hiding.”
However, the suspect’s advocate claimed that his client had not gone into hiding and that he was at his home.
Asked if the police intend to arrest the suspects, the commissioner said he could not comment on the same. “I can’t reply as the answer may impact the investigation,” he said.
(With inputs from G Mohiuddin Jeddy)