Navi Mum bldr murder: Trial will start on Dec 7
Court Frames Charges Against 12 Accused
Mumbai: The Thane sessions court on Monday framed charges against 12 of the 14 accused in the 2013 murder case of Navi Mumbai-based builder Sunil Lahoria. The trial will begin on December 7, said a source.
The police said that framing of the charges in the case assumes significance as four years on, the main accused, including builder Suresh Bijlani, have not got bail. Bijlani has filed 38 bail applications in various courts without success. Officials of the crime branch said that they hope the trial is expedited and completed by mid-2018.
The case dates back to February 16, 2013, when Lahoria was gunned down outside his office in Vashi. Officials of the crime branch arrested 12 persons, including Bijlani and architect Anuragh Gargh, for the murder. The police have said Lahoria had filed a writ petition before the high court for cancellation of Gargh’s architect licence as there were two FIRs against him and this was the reason of dispute between them. In the case of Bijlani, Lahoria and he had a dispute over a plot. Bijlani and Gargh ganged up to get Lahoria bumped off with the help of former encounter specialist cop Emmanuel Amolik, the police have claimed.
Sources said that charges have been framed against 12 accused and two other suspects—Sumit Bachewar and Bhupesh Gupta—have been discharged from the case. However, the state has filed an appeal against the discharge of Bachewar and Gupta and the application is pending before the Supreme Court. Charges against the 12 accused have been framed under IPC sections 302 (murder), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (destruction of evidence) and also Arms Act.
In a 7,000-page chargesheet, running into seven volumes, filed on May 2013, the police have said that two of the accused, Venkaesh Shettiyar and Wajid Qureshi, who they claim are shooters, who assaulted Lahoria and attacked him with a chopper. Amolik, executed the murder on behalf of Bijlani, says the chargesheet. Four others—Altaf Khan, Arif Shaikh, Kailash Gumane and Mohammed Ansari alias Bhaijaan—were part of the coordination and back-up team whereas Francis Chauri and Anil D’Souza were responsible for transferring contract money to everyone, it states.
Bijlani’s brother Mahesh has also been named in the chargesheet as the main conspirator who hatched the plan.
The police have said that there is strong evidence, circumstantial as well as technical, to prove the murder. “There is ample evidence and there are 181 witnesses. We hope the case will reach its logical end,” said an officer.