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Centre Hands Over Amravati Case to NIA Amid Similarities to Udaipur Killing; 'Mastermind' Held

By: News Desk


Last Updated: July 03, 2022, 07:48 IST

New Delhi

The five murder accused in the Amravati case. (Image: News18)

The five murder accused in the Amravati case. (Image: News18)

Police said that some of the accused had watched Kolhe's movements for three days prior to committing the crime

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday handed over the investigation of the gruesome Amravati murder case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), amid its similarities with the Udaipur hate killing. In both the killings, which took place some days apart, the civilians were murdered after they shared social media posts in support of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, and her comments regarding the Prophet Mohammad.

Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe (54), who ran a medical shop in Amravati, was stabbed to death around 10.30 pm on June 21 near Ghantaghar in the Shyam Chowk area of Amravati. Deputy Commissioner of Police Vikram Sali told reporters that on the face of it, the killing was linked to certain posts that Kolhe had shared in WhatsApp groups, supporting Sharma. “During the investigation, we found that Umesh Kolhe had posted on social media in support of Nupur Sharma and this incident took place because of that post,” Sali said, adding that some of the accused had watched Kolhe’s movements for three days prior to committing the crime.

Taking to Twitter, the MHA informed, “The conspiracy behind the killing, involvement of organizations, and international linkages would be thoroughly investigated.”

Meanwhile, a senior police official told news agency PTI that an alleged mastermind of the killing was also arrested during the day. This was the seventh arrest in the case. The crime branch of Amravati city police arrested Irfan Khan (32), a local resident, from Nagpur in the evening. He had allegedly hatched the conspiracy to murder Kolhe and roped in others, said city police commissioner Dr Aarti Singh.

Earlier, police had arrested 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) in connection with the case. A local court has extended their police custody till July 5.

An NIA team visited Amravati on Saturday for the probe.

Police arrested two of the accused on the basis of CCTV footage and also seized the knife used in the crime.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Anil Bonde told CNN-News18 that according to CCTV footage obtained by police, the victim had been followed by the accused. “A big nexus is going on in Amravati where people are being threatened to support Nupur. An atmosphere of fear is being created here,” he said.

News18 had earlier reported that the NIA was examining the Amravati killing case, in which Kolhe’s throat was slit on June 21, similar to the June 28 Udaipur tailor case.

Tailor Kanhaiya Lal was hacked to death inside his shop by two men, allegedly for a social media post in support of Nupur Sharma, as well.

For the unversed, the BJP had on June 5 suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled Delhi BJP media head Jindal after their alleged derogatory remarks against the Prophet that led to an outrage in India and Gulf countries.

With inputs from agencies

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first published:July 02, 2022, 14:19 IST
last updated:July 03, 2022, 07:48 IST