NIA arrests two more in murder of pharmacist Umesh Kolhe

Accused persons in the Umesh Kolhe murder case being take to a court in Amravati, Maharashtra. File photo

Accused persons in the Umesh Kolhe murder case being take to a court in Amravati, Maharashtra. File photo | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested two more accused in connection with the murder of a pharmacist Umesh Kolhe, who circulated objectionable Whatsapp posts on Prophet Muhammad made by Bharatiya Janata Party’s suspended spokesperson, Nupur Sharma.

NIA arrested Abdul Arbaz and Maulavi Mushfique Ahmed on August 2. As per the press release by the central agency, the arrested accused are criminal associates of earlier arrested accused persons, namely Irfan Shaikh, Shoaib Khan, Mudassir Ahmed, Aatif Rashid, Yusuf Khan, Abdul Toufiq and Shahrukh Pathan and one wanted accused namely, Shamim Ahmed Firoj Ahmed.

Also read: Ground Zero | A pharmacist, a tailor and the Prophet remarks row

Ms. Sharma in May, had made objectionable remarks on the Prophet on national television that sparked an outrage on the national and international level. On June 21, Umesh Kolhe, 54, was killed by two motorcycle-borne men by slitting his throat, for supporting comments made by Ms. Sharma.

On June 28, two Muslim fundamentalists beheaded a 40-year-old Kanhaiya Lal who had shared posts in support of suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma, in broad daylight at his tailoring shop in a market in Rajasthan’s Udaipur city.

Raids conducted

On July 2, the Maharashtra Police had arrested seven people before the case was taken over by the NIA.

The central agency on July 6, conducted raids at 13 locations across Maharashtra in connection with Mr. Kolhe’s murder. The central agency is reported to have recovered incriminating materials such as pamphlets spreading hate messages, knives, mobile phones, SIM cards, and memory cards, among others.

The First Information Report is registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Sections 34 (acts done with common intention), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony),153 B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2022 1:55:57 pm |