INDIA. MUMBAI: On Thursday, Judge A K Lahoti of the Special Court in Mumbai remanded the seven accused arrested in connection with the murder of Umesh Kolhe (54), a pharmacist from Amravati, to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody until July 15.
The pharmacist, Umesh Kolhe, was murdered on June 21 for supporting the statement of suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma in Amravati in Eastern Maharashtra on June 21 when he was returning home at night. Two motorcycle-borne men had slit Kolhe’s throat leading to his death.
The NIA sought the custody of Irfan Khan (32), the alleged mastermind behind Kolhe’s murder, along with Mudassar Ahmed alias Sonu Raza Sheikh Ibrahim (22), Shahrukh Pathan alias Badshasha Hidayat Khan (25), Abdul Taufik alias Nanu Sheikh Taslim (24), Shoeb Khan alias Bhurya Sabir Khan (22), Atib Rashid Aadil Rashid (22) and Yusuf Khan Bahadur Khan (44).
The NIA pointed out that pamphlets spreading hate messages, knives, mobile phones, SIM cards, and other incriminating documents were found during the searches of the premises of the accused. Besides, the NIA told the court that the killing of Kolhe was “not just a murder” but prima facie an act to “terrorize people”.
The men were produced before a Mumbai special court on Thursday after the case was transferred from Kotwali police station in Amravati to the NIA earlier this week. In addition, the accused have been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
According to the NIA special public prosecutor, the incident was a “deep-rooted conspiracy,” and the investigation was not limited to Amravati. He said that Kolhe’s wife and son, who were with him on another scooter on the night of the murder, had stated that the reason for the murder was not just any old enmity.
The prosecutor stated that the NIA investigation established the seven men’s involvement in the terror case on the surface. Because it was a serious offence and a similar incident had occurred elsewhere, the Union government was also aware of the case.
The NIA requested that the seven men be held in custody for two weeks so that it could investigate the alleged conspiracy. It went on to say that there were more suspects in the case, including one who was fleeing.
The NIA has apprehended the sixth suspect in the murder of a Rajasthan tailor.
In another development, the special NIA court on Wednesday sent a sixth accused in connection with the killing of tailor Kanhaiya Lal on June 28 in Rajasthan’s Udaipur to the federal agency’s custody till July 12. The NIA has taken over the probe into the killing of the tailor in Udaipur for allegedly sharing remarks by Nupur Sharma.
On Tuesday night, the NIA arrested Wasim Ali, who ran a meat shop opposite Kanhaiya Lal’s tailoring shop, and questioned him about his alleged role in assisting other accused in surveying the area. He was arrested on Wednesday and brought before the Rajasthan Special Court.
Lal was killed with a cleaver inside his tailoring shop on June 28. While Riyaz Akhtari attacked the 47-year-old tailor, Gaus Mohammed recorded the act and posted it online. They said in a video later that they killed Lal to avenge an alleged insult to Islam. The two were arrested within hours of the killing.
Two others, Mohammad Mohsin and Asif, were later arrested for allegedly being involved in the conspiracy. The accused in the case are Riyaz Akhtari, Gaus Mohammed, Mohammad Mohsin, Asif, Muhammad Riyaz, and Wasim Ali.