Amravati chemist murder: NIA takes custody of all accused
Mumbai: Anti-terror agency NIA has taken over the custody of all the seven accused in the murder of Amravati-based chemist Umesh Kolhe, media reports said.
NIA took custody of all the accused who were granted transit remand after they were produced in the Amravati court on Monday.
The seven accused are Muddasar Ahmad (22), Shahrukh Pathan (25), Abdul Taufiq (24) Shoaib Khan (22), Atib Rashid (22) and Yusuf Khan (32) and alleged mastermind Shaikh Irfan Shaikh Rahim.
The accused are likely to be produced before the NIA's Mumbai court on or before July 8, media reported citing an official.
Police have said they are on the lookout for another accused Shamim Ahmed in connection with the case.
Kolhe, 54, was murdered on June 21 by three men between 10 pm and 10:30 pm while he was heading towards his home. He was allegedly killed for supporting former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, whose remarks on Prophet Mohammed triggered widespread violence across India.
NDTV reported that Kolhe had made some comments in favour of Nupur Sharma in a group called "Black Freedom" where both Hindus and Muslims are members.
Yousuf Khan, a veterinary doctor, who was Kolhe's friend and customer shared his post to some other WhatsApp groups.
One of these groups was "Kalim Ibrahim" where Irfan Khan, also a member of the group, saw the post and was furious.
He then hatched a plan to kill the chemist along with five other members.
The report said that one of the accused Yousuf Khan, who runs an NGO called "Rehbar" to help Muslim families, even visited Kolhe's family at his funeral.
Both Irfan Khan and Yousuf Khan were arrested by the police and are now in NIA custody.
According to the report, Kolhe's assailants could have killed him on June 20, the day before his throat was slit by three-motorcycle borne men. But he closed his shop early - around 9.30 pm, forcing his killers to postpone their plan to the next day.
A News 18 report said a fresh CCTV footage shows three people with their faces covered with a black cloth reaching the crime spot 17 minutes before the murder. They can be seen hiding beside a car and waiting for Kolhe.
Kolhe's post-mortem report has revealed that the slit on his neck was five-inch wide, seven-inch long and five-inch deep.
The slit was made by a trained assailant to ensure immediate death using a sharp weapon, the post-mortem report said, adding that it aimed to target the nerves to brain, throat and eyes, the report added.
Kolhe was murdered a week earlier than Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor in Rajasthan's Udaipur, who was also murdered for making social media post in support of Nupur Sharma.
Initially, it was thought that Kolhe was murdered by robbers but the theories lacked substance and proof, according to media reports.