Amravati chemist killing: NIA court extends custody of accused till July 22
The special court under the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act Friday extended till July 22 the NIA custody of seven men booked for killing 54-year-old chemist Umesh Kolhe in Amravati allegedly for a social media post supporting former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who had made controversial comments against the Prophet in a TV debate.
Kolhe was murdered on June 21 while he was on his way home after closing his shop.
The men booked for Kolhe’s murder have also been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The central agency argued that the issue has “international ramifications” as the act was done with “a view to terrorise a section of society” and that the accused’s further custodial interrogation was required.
The NIA lawyer referred to certain “controversial WhatsApp messages” and said that the same reveal “intent and motive” of the accused and form the foundation of the case indicating the seven accused conspired among each other.
The NIA said that one accused is absconding and is required to be found. It added that relevant materials have been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) and the accused persons have to be confronted with the same materials and they need to be interrogated on the electronic evidence collected by the agency as well.
The agency’s lawyer added that while one vehicle has been recovered, two others used in the crime need to be recovered and the agency needs to find out where the knife used to kill Kohle was purchased from.
Seeking extension of remand, the central agency said that the accused are required to be taken out of Maharashtra as there is a link and a conspiracy involved, indicating that they wanted to investigate if there was any connection with the murder that took place in Udaipur on the similar issue.
“Minimum six days (NIA custody) is justified as the accused are needed to be taken out of state and going and coming back will also take time and the security of the accused is also paramount,” the NIA lawyer said.
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