Nagpur: The killing of Umesh Kolhe in Amravati for forwarding posts supporting BJP’s Nupur Sharma is suspected to have been precipitated by veterinarian Yusuf Khan, who had been a friend for 16 years and even attended the funeral of the 54-year-old pharmacist.
Police said on Sunday that Yusuf had forwarded the victim’s post in their common group to other WhatsApp groups of his community, which may have led to the assailants marking him as a target. Kolhe’s family members described the veterinarian as a friend who would invite Kolhe for family functions.
The main mastermind behind the murder of Umesh Kolhe has been arrested from Nagpur. The arrested has been identified as Irfan Sheikh, owner of an NGO from Nagpur, police said. Police has arrested 7 accused in the murder case of Umesh Kolhe. These include the alleged mastermind Irfan Sheikh, Veterinary Dr Yusuf Khan, Shahrukh, Shoaib Khan, Atib Rashid, Abdul Tawfiq and Mudassir.
It has also emerged that at least three persons who also forwarded posts supporting the suspended BJP spokesperson had received threats from those angered by the alleged insult to the prophet. Two of them were forced to record apology videos. Cops have now convinced one of these persons to lodge a formal complaint and start a parallel investigation.
During interrogation, Yusuf is learnt to have told the investigators he resented Kolhe’s success as a chemist. Kolhe had taken another shop. “Yusuf was offended that while Kolhe prospered due to customers from his community, he backstabbed them by badmouthing the prophet and supporting those who insulted him,” said a source close to the probe.
While Kolhe’s family is not aware whether he was also threatened, the threats issued to others, who felt forced to apologise, will certainly be the focus of investigations by NIA into the killings of the pharmacist on June 21 and Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal a week later.
Amravati police is already under fire for initially terming the beheading as a possible case of robbery, with BJP alleging that the real nature of the crime was hidden for political reasons. Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said on Sunday that the government would look into the issue.
Agencies see the involvement of neighbours and friends in the two beheadings as confirmation of growing radicalisation, and part of an attempt to implement an unwritten anti-blasphemy code.
The Amravati police have made seven arrests so far in the case. “The case would be handed over to NIA on Monday,” said Amravati police commissioner Arti Singh.
NIA to take over murder probe of Amravati chemist who allegedly shared posts in support of Nupur Sharma
2nd July 2022
New Delhi : Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take over the probe into the June 21 killing of Amravati shop owner Umesh Kolhe over his alleged social media posts in support of suspended BJP leader Nupur.
“MHA has handed over the investigation of the case relating to the barbaric killing of Umesh Kolhe in Amravati Maharashtra on 21st June to NIA. The conspiracy behind the killing, involvement of organisations and international linkages would be thoroughly investigated,” tweeted the home ministry.
MHA has handed over the investigation of the case relating to the barbaric killing of Shri Umesh Kolhe in Amravati Maharashtra on 21st June to NIA.
The conspiracy behind the killing, involvement of organisations and international linkages would be thoroughly investigated.
— गृहमंत्री कार्यालय, HMO India (@HMOIndia) July 2, 2022
The assailants slit Kolhe’s throat while he was going home from his shop on June 21.
Police have so far arrested five persons, Mudassir Ahmed Shaikh Ibrahim (22), Shahrukh Pathan Khan (23), Abdul Taufeeq Tasleem (24) , Shoeb Khan (29), and Ateef Rashid (23). All, except Abdul, have no offences or crime records. Abdul was earlier booked for a skirmish at a mosque.
Mudassir and Shahrukh, who were seen in CCTV footage while conducting recce, were arrested on June 23. Abdul and Shoeb the next day and Rashid on June 25.
Their police custody was extended till July 5 by a local court on Saturday.
Social media posts
BJP state spokesperson Shivaray Kulkarni met Amravati CP Aarti Singh last week, seeking clarification on the motive behind Kolhe’s murder.
BJP leaders believe Kolhe had forwarded messages in support of Nupur Sharma in social media groups, which led to the murder.
Source : TOI
After Udaipur killing, mystery over Maharashtra man’s similar murder a week ago raises questions
29th June 2022
After the cold-blooded killing of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur, a murder which happened a week back in Maharashtra’s Amravati is now being talked about.
A businessman named Umesh Kolhe, trading in medical equipment, was killed in a similar way, his throat was slit by attackers, as Udaipur’s Kanhaiya Lal who was hacked to death by two men who later posted a video on social media saying that they carried out the killing to avenge the insult to Islam.
The police have so far arrested five people in connection with the murder of the Amravati businessman, however, there is not much information in public about the motive behind it. Local BJP leaders say that Umesh Kolhe’s murder too may be related to suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma’s remarks post on Prophet Muhammad and that police should investigate the murder keeping in mind this issue.
Umesh Kolhe was returning from his medical shop on the night of June 21 when he was attacked with a sharp weapon and was killed. Umesh was riding a scooter that night and was attacked by three bike-borne people. Umesh’s son Sanket and his wife were also coming behind him on another bike when the incident took place.
The attack took place in the presence of his son and his wife. Umesh was immediately taken to hospital by his son where the doctors declared him dead.
Mystery over the reason of killing
While earlier it was suspected that the motive behind this killing was robbery, primary investigation found said that Umesh, at the time of the attack, was carrying Rs 35,000 in a bag but the attackers did not even touch the bag.
They simply left the place after killing Umesh, leaving the murder case shrouded in mystery. The police have constituted four special team to investigate the matter.
Police arrest five accused
Two days after the killing, the police made their first arrest. On June 23, Mudassir Ahamad and Shahrukh Pathan were arrested in connection with this murder. After questioning them, the police arrested Abdul Taufiq Sheikh and Shoeb Khan and later Ateeq Rashid was also apprehended.
The remand of the three accused is ending on Wednesday. Police have not revealed anything about what these accused told during the questioning and the details regarding the probe into the killing have not been made public. According to sources, some other accused too may be involved in this killing. The Police suspect that the mastermind of this murder is still at large.
Nupur Sharma connection?
Three days back, BJP spokesperson Shivaray Kulkarni had a meeting with Dr. Arati Singh, the Police commissioner of Amaravati. He had said that this whole issue is very suspicious.
He said that Kolhe had shared some posts that had some connections with Nupur Sharma and he had shared them in some groups. If this murder has anything to do with this issue or not, the probe must pay attention to this facts as well, he said.
Police issue advisory
The police have issued an advisory recently in connection with the matter. In the advisory, police said that it cannot be ruled out that due to sharing of some controversial posts, videos and comments on Social Media by some unsocial elements might have poisoned the air.
Police requested people not to share objectionable posts that have the potential to spread religious animosity. Police said that if such things happen, they will take stern action against the culprits.
Source : News 18