Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe, a 54-year-old chemist, was killed in Maharashtra’s Amravati district on June 21, exactly one week before tailor Kanhaiyalal Teli was hacked to death in Udaipur.
According to investigators, Kolhe was allegedly killed in retaliation for a social media post endorsing Nupur Sharma of the BJP, who had made derogatory remarks against the Prophet during a TV debate.
“Five people have been arrested in connection with the chemist’s murder, and the main suspect, Irfan Khan (32), who runs an NGO, is being sought,” Amravati commissioner of police Dr. Aarti Singh said on Saturday.
“Kolhe owned a medical store in Amravati. He allegedly shared a post on several WhatsApp groups in support of Nupur Sharma’s remarks. He even accidentally shared the post in a WhatsApp group where some Muslims, including his customers, were also members”, said an official of the City Kotwali police station.
On June 23, the City Kotwali Police Station in Amravati arrested two people, Muddsir Ahemad, 22, and Shahrukh Pathan, 25, after an initial investigation prompted by a complaint from Umesh Kohle’s son Sanket Kohle. Their interrogation revealed the involvement of four more people, three of whom were arrested on June 25: Abdul Thoufik, 24, Shoaib Khan, 22, and Atib Rashid, 22. Shamim Ahmed Firoz Ahmed has escaped.
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The incident took place between 10 pm to 10.30 pm on June 21 when Umesh Kolhe was on his way home after closing his shop ‘Amit Medical Store’. Sanket, 27, and his wife Vaishnavi were accompanying him on another scooter.
In his complaint, Sanket told the police, “We were moving from Prabhat Chowk and our scooters had reached the Mahila College New High School’s gate. Two men on a motorcycle suddenly came in front of my father’s scooter. One of them used a knife to stab my father on the left side of his neck when they stopped my father’s motorcycle. My father was bleeding when he fell. I halted my scooter and yelled for assistance. Another man came and the three fled the spot on the motorcycle.”
“The five accused caught so far have told us they sought the help of another accused who gave them a car and Rs 10,000 to escape away,” a senior police officer from Amravati city police said.
Amravati City Police Commissioner Arti Singh said that, “Five persons have been arrested in the case and we are looking for the remaining whose arrest will give us clarity on the motive behind the murder.”
According to a recent update, the sixth accused was arrested while the NIA takes over the investigation.
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