The Kotwali city police added sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), on Monday, 4 July, against the accused in the murder of 54-year-old chemist Umesh Kolhe, who was killed for allegedly supporting suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is set to take over the investigation on Monday afternoon.
Sections 16 (punishment for terrorist act), 18 (punishment for conspiracy) and 20 (punishment for being member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA were applied against the accused, The Indian Express reported.
Quoting senior police personnel, the report added, “The UAPA had been applied as the murder has been committed with an intention to terrorise people.”
Atib Rashid, one of the seven accused for the brutal killing was sent to judicial custody while police custody for four other accused ended on Monday. Dr Yusuf Khan, the sixth accused, remains in police custody.
The alleged mastermind of Kolhe’s cold-blooded murder, Irfan Khan was arrested on Saturday, 2 July and produced before a magistrate court the following day, which remanded him to police custody still 7 July.
The Indian Express reported that Neelima Araj, senior inspector of Kotwali city police, told the magistrate of Khan being the prime instigator in the matter, and that the police required the recovery of Khan’s mobile phone, vehicles, and details of his bank account used to run the helpline of Khan’s NGO, Rahebar.
Arguing for Khan, advocates Murtuza Azad and Wasim Shaikh said that Khan was a social worker who helped people during the COVID-19 pandemic. “He was not at the spot and has nothing to do with the crime. His custodial interrogation is not required,” said Azad.
"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
Deputy Commissioner of Police Vikram Sali told reporters that on the face of it, the killing was linked to certain posts that Kolhe had shared in WhatsApp groups, supporting Sharma, who has been suspended by the BJP for making controversial comments about Prophet Muhammad.
Earlier, police had arrested Mudassar Ahmed alias Sonu Raza Sheikh Ibrahim (22), Shahrukh Pathan alias Badshasha Hidayat Khan (25), Abdul Taufik alias Nanu Sheikh Taslim (24), Shoeb Khan alias Bhurya Sabir Khan (22), Atib Rashid Aadil Rashid (22), and Yusuf Khan Bahadur Khan (44) in connection with Kolhe’s killing.
Sali said some of the accused had watched Kolhe’s movements for three days prior to the killing.