The murder of a pharmacist in Maharashtra's Amravati for allegedly supporting Nupur Sharma has "international ramifications", the National Investigation Agency (NIA) told a court in Amravati on Friday, 15 July.
The court extended the NIA custody of the seven accused arrested in the case till 22 July.
Umesh Kolhe, who ran a medical shop, was killed in the Amravati city of eastern Maharashtra on the night of June 21. Police had claimed that he was killed for sharing a post supporting suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma's controversial remarks about Prophet Mohammad.
The grisly incident preceded the similar killing of a tailor in Udaipur.
The NIA, which has taken over the probe from Amravati police, produced the accused before the special court for NIA cases here on Friday after their initial custody ended.
The agency sought their custody for another eight days.
The case was very serious and had "national as well as international ramifications," it said, adding that the motive behind the murder was to terrorise a section of society.
The accused had entered into a conspiracy, and one more suspect was absconding, the NIA said.
The accused were needed to be taken to Rajasthan for further probe, it told the court, without mentioning the Udaipur incident.
It had obtained records of international calls received by three of the accused, the agency said, while denying the defence lawyers' claim that Kolhe's murder was the fall-out of a fight between the friends.
Defence lawyer Sharif Shaikh opposed the extension of remand, stating there were no cogent grounds. Kolhe's killing took place before the Udaipur incident, and the central agency was trying to give it a different colour, he claimed.
Advocate Ali Kaashif Khan, who represented another accused, said it was not a fit case for the application of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
After hearing the arguments, the court extended the custody of the accused.