“MHA has turned over the investigation of the case regarding the barbaric murder of Umesh Kolhe in Amravati Maharashtra on June 21 to NIA. The conspiracy behind the assassination, the involvement of organizations and international connections would be thoroughly investigated,” the Home Office tweeted.
MHA has handed over the investigation into the case related to the barbaric killing of Shri Umesh Kolhe in Amravati… https://t.co/pBpCwCroE8
— गृहमंत्री कार्यालय, HMO India (@HMOIndia) 1656753008000
Nilima Araj, Police Inspector (City Kotwali PS), said seven people have been arrested in the murder case so far.
Mudassir Ahmed Shaikh Ibrahim, 22, and Shahrukh Pathan Khan, 23, seen on surveillance cameras during the reconnaissance, were arrested on June 23. abdul Baptismeq Tasleem (24) and Shoeb Khan (29) the next day and Ateef Rashid (23) on June 25th. With the exception of Abdul, who was previously booked for a mosque skirmish, the other four have no criminal offenses or previous convictions. Their police custody was extended by a district court on Saturday until July 5.
On Saturday, the police arrested the sixth defendant, Yusuf Khan (44). He was produced before the Amravati District Court, which held him in police custody until 4 July.
The main suspect, Shaikh Irfan Rahim, who police say runs an NGO and was the mastermind behind the attack, was arrested in Nagpur in the evening.
An official at Kotwali Town Police Station said Khan allegedly hatched a plot to kill Kolhe and instigated five others and promised to pay them Rs 10,000 and a safe escape in a car after the killing.
The attackers, who caught the victim on a scooter near New Main High School, fled without taking any valuables or even his cellphone.
Kolhe’s family said he had no animosity or arguments with anyone and claimed to have stumbled upon his social media forward messages in support of Sharma.
Navneet Rana beats up the police chief
Meanwhile, Amravati MP and BJP leader Navneet Rana said it was only after 12 days that police commissioner Aarti Singh “came before the media and said that the case is similar to the Udaipur murder… and the content is related to what was posted about Nupur Sharma.”
“After 12 days, she provides information about the incident. She first said it was a robbery and tried to quash the case. An investigation must also be conducted against Amravati CP,” said Rana.
BJP state spokesman Shivaray Kulkarni met with the Amravati CP last week to seek clarification on the motive behind Kolhe’s killing. BJP leaders believe Kolhe forwarded messages in support of Nupur Sharma on social media groups, which led to the killing.
Murder at Udaipur
The motive behind the gruesome murder of a tailor by two men in Udaipur on June 28 has also been linked to the victim sharing social media posts in support of Sharma, who had made controversial remarks against the Prophet.
The case is also being investigated by the NIA, which on Saturday took the two defendants — Riyaz Akhtari and Ghouse Mohammad — into custody from Ajmer maximum security prison. Akhtari and Mohammad, along with two others, have now been taken into NIA custody for 10 days.
(With contributions from agencies)