To investigate a possible conspiracy, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) plans to take seven persons arrested for the killing of Amravati pharmacist Umesh Kolhe to Rajasthan.
A week after the Amravati incident that took place on June 21, in Udaipur, Rajasthan a tailor Kanhaiya Lal was brutally murdered on June 28. The tailor had posted on social media supporting suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma who had made controversial statements on the Prophet. Kolhe too had forwarded some WhatsApp messages supporting Sharma. The NIA had taken over the probe of both cases from the local police.
The central agency told this through its prosecutor to a special NIA court on Friday, while seeking further eight days of custody for interrogation of the seven who were produced before the court at 3 pm on Friday. Irfan Khan, 35, Dr. Yusuf Khan, 44, Mudassir Ahmed, 22, Shahrukh Pathan, 25, Abdul Taufiq, 24, Atib Rashid, 22 and Shoaib Khan, 22 had been in the NIA’s custody since July 7. Special NIA Judge Rajesh J Katariya extended their custody with the NIA till Friday, July 22.
The agency’s remand report stated that it has found international calls in the call detail records of three of the accused,. It further said that the incident has international ramifications and that the controversial WhatsApp messages become the intent and motive of the offence. The prosecutor further said that the seven accused conspired with each other and that its probe shows that it is a terrorist act. The agency said it has ramifications on national security, the intent was clear and large - to terrorize the country and a section of society.
Advocate Kaashif Ali Khan Deshmukh appearing for three of the accused argued that it is not a terror act for charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act to be invoked. He cited the observations made by the apex court against Nupur Sharma recently in which the top court said that she was ‘single-handedly responsible for the situation in the country’. He said one of the accused, a doctor, was a friend of the chemist and that the two were part of many WhatsApp groups.
Advocate Sharif Shaikh for the other four accused told the court that the incident was a fight between friends. The NIA prosecutor denied this and told the court that it was not an interpersonal fight and had much wider repercussions. The accused will be produced before the court on July 22.