The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday took over probe into the murder of Amravati-based chemist Umesh Kolhe and collected documents and evidences related to the case from the city police, said police officials.The NIA took custody of all the accused, who were granted four days’ transit remand on Monday after they were produced before an Amravati court.
The accused - Muddasar Ahmad (22), Shahrukh Pathan (25), Abdul Taufiq (24) Shoaib Khan (22), Atib Rashid (22) and Yusuf Khan (32) and alleged mastermind Shaikh Irfan Shaikh Rahim - are likely to be produced before the NIA's Mumbai court on or before July 8, they added.
How NIA is proceeding?
The anti-terror agency, which has already taken custody of all the seven accused in the June 21 murder, took possession of a case diary, knives and some two-wheelers seized by cops, CCTV footage, CDR (call detail record) data of the accused and other documents and material which were in possession of the Kotwali police, who were handling the probe till now, they said.
While seeking remand of the accused, the NIA informed the Amravati court that the Union Home Ministry had handed over the investigation into Kolhe's murder to the central agency.
Around 11 am on Tuesday, NIA Deputy Inspector General Vikram Khalate and Superintendent of Police Praveen Ingale reached the Kotwali police station along with their colleagues and took possession of the documents and evidences related to the case, the officials said.
Statements of the investigating officer and others involved in the probe were recorded, they said.
Kolhe's brother Mahesh was on Tuesday summoned by the NIA in the Kotwali police station where his statement was recorded by the anti-terror agency, the officials said.
NIA sleuths also carried out a thorough search of houses of the accused persons and examined the crime spot, they said.
The Amravati police had found links between social media posts supporting former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and Kolhe's murder during the investigation and didn't suppress the case as was alleged, police commissioner Arti Singh said on Monday.
Police didn't disclose the information earlier given the "very sensitive" nature of the murder case and to avoid any untoward incident, she said.
Police are on the lookout for one more suspect, Shamim Ahmed, in connection with the case.
Why was the chemist murdered?
Kolhe (54) was allegedly attacked with a knife by a group of three men between 10 pm and 10:30 pm on June 21. He died during treatment at hospital.
The chemist had put out a post on social media in support of Nupur Sharma, who made controversial comments on Prophet Muhammad during a TV debate in May.
A new video purportedly linked to Kolhe's murder and featuring two people went viral on social media on Tuesday, but its authenticity was not confirmed by the police.
The video was being examined by cyber experts, police said.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Nagpur, BJP Rajya Sabha MP and former MLA from Amravati Anil Bonde claimed the "mastermind" of Kolhe's murder, Shaikh Rahim, was allegedly involved in a 'love jihad' incident in Indore in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.