The City Kotwali police in Amravati on Monday charged all accused in the horrific killing of Umesh Kolhe under several provisions of the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), reported The Indian Express. The 54-year-old chemist was hacked to death in Maharashtra’s Amravati for allegedly backing the now-suspended BJP spokesperson’s derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad and circulating the same on WhatsApp groups.
The development came a day after a local court sent the alleged mastermind of the murder, Irfan Khan, to policy custody till July 7. Since the murder of Kolhe, Khan is the seventh accused to be arrested so far. The case has been handed over to the National Investigative Agency (NIA) on Monday.
The several provisions under which the accused have been charged are Sections 16 (punishment for terrorist act), 18 (punishment for conspiracy) and 20 (punishment for being member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA against the accused. Explaining the rationale behind charging the accused under UAPA, a police official told IE, “The UAPA had been applied as the murder has been committed with an intention to terrorise people.”
One of the seven accused, Atib Rashib is currently under judicial remand while the sixth accused, 44-year-old Dr Yusuf Khan, was sent to police custody. On Sunday, the police, while seeking the custody of 35-year-old Irfan Khan, stated that additional time was required to probe his NGO’s bank statements, his mobile number among others.
“My client is a social worker and helped many people during the pandemic. He was not at the spot and has nothing to do with the crime. His custodial interrogation is not required,” Khan’s advocate Murtuza Azad argued before the Magistrate, as reported by IE.
As per the preliminary findings into the investigation so far, Khan provided logistical help and cash to the five accused, who were also his friends, in the gruesome murder, police said, adding that it was Khan who allegedly plotted Kolhe’s murder.