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NIA to Probe Killing of Chemist in Maharashtra's Amravati, Says Home Ministry

Investigators believe that he was killed allegedly over his social media posts supporting Nupur Sharma.

Updated
India
3 min read

Video Input: Nitin Raut

Video Producer/Editor: Shohini Bose

The Union Home Ministry on Saturday, 2 July, handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) the investigation into the killing of a chemist in Amravati in Maharashtra, a spokesperson said.

On 21 June, Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe, a 54-year-old chemist, was killed in Maharashtra’s Amravati district. Investigators now think that he was killed allegedly over his social media posts supporting Nupur Sharma.

The spokesperson tweeted that the NIA would probe the conspiracy behind the killing of the chemist, Umesh Kolhe, who was hacked to death on 21 June.

The NIA will also investigate any involvement of organisations and international linkages, the spokesperson said.

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Social Media Post Supporting Nupur Sharma Appears to Be Reason, Says Police

Six persons have been arrested in connection with the killing of the 54-year-old chemist so far. They have been booked under IPC sec 302 (murder), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 34, Vikram Sali, DCP Amravati, said.

"Prima facie it seems to be the case," he said, responding to questions on if the reason was the chemist's social media post on Nupur Sharma.

The police have seized the knife used in the crime and obtained the CCTV footage that captured the sequence of events. Amravati Commissioner of police Dr Aarti Singh said the exact reason behind the murder is being ascertained.

He was part of a WhatsApp Group where pro-Hindutva posts were shared. He had posted on this group in support of Nupur Sharma's statement. The police said that this post had gone viral, even outside the group.

Social Media Did Not Contain Anything Controversial, Says Son

The chemist's son, however, claimed that his social media profiles did not contain anything controversial.

This comes only days after tailor Kanhaiya Lal was hacked to death in Udaipur for his social media post supporting Nupur Sharma, who had made controversial comments regarding the Prophet.

Umesh Kohle’s son, Sanket Kohle, had filed a complaint. Based on the complaint and the initial investigation, two people, Muddsir Ahemad (22), and Shahrukh Pathan (25), were arrested on June 23. After questioning them, involvement of four more people was revealed. Abdul Thoufik (24), Shoaib Khan (22), and Atib Rashid (22) - were arrested on 25 June and one Shamim Ahmed Firoz is absconding.

The Incident

The incident took place on 21 June between 10pm and 10.30 pm when Kolhe had closed his shop ‘Amit Medical Store’ located in Rachana Shree Mall near the Amravati Tehsil office. He was on his way home when the incident took place.

"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. They stopped my father’s bike and one of them stabbed him on the left side of his neck with a knife. My father fell and was bleeding. I stopped my scooter and started shouting for help. Another man came and the three fled the spot on the motorcycle."
Sanket Kolhe said in his complaint

His son rushed him to the closest hospital, where he died during treatment.

He had Rs 35,000 in his pocket but the attackers did not take the money.

An official of the City Kotwali police station said, “Kolhe ran a medical store in Amravati city. He had allegedly shared a post on some WhatsApp groups in support of Nupur Sharma for her comments. He even mistakenly shared the post in a WhatsApp group in which some Muslims were also members, including his customers.”

However, Sanket told The Indian Express that his father never spoke ill about anyone, nor was he associated with any political party. He said, “I also heard that he was murdered over his social media post, but I checked his Facebook profile and did not find anything objectionable. Only the police can tell what the motive was. I am blank. But I can say for sure that he was not murdered for robbery.”

(With inputs from Nitin Raut)

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande
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