Four held for murder of Afghan Sufism preacher; ‘own men’ killed him for property, say cops
The Nashik Rural police on Thursday arrested four persons for the murder of a 28-year-old Sufism preacher from Afghanistan, who had been staying in India as a refugee for the last four years, before he was killed earlier this month. The deceased, Ahmed Zarif Chishti, popularly known as Khwaja Zarif Baba Syed Zarif Chishti, was shot dead in Yeola, Nashik district, by “his own men” because they wanted to usurp his properties, worth at least Rs 2.5 to Rs 3 crores, after finding out that his wife, also an Afghani national, was pregnant and that his unborn child would be the rightful heir of the wealth, police said.
After the preacher’s murder, his wife’s security was beefed up by police.
Chishti used to post videos of his preachings on a YouTube channel. Set up in 2017, the channel had 2.27 lakh followers and received over 6 crore views in five years. He received funds and donations from the public for his preachings and pujas, police said.
On July 5, around 11 am, Chishti was taken to a couple of places by his driver to perform puja. He was later taken to a plot in Chinchodi MIDC, Yeola, on the pretext of another puja. Around 7.30 pm, when Chishti took a seat in his car after completing a puja, a man sitting in the driver’s seat shot him in the head with a firearm. The plan was to bury Chishti’s body and later tell people that he had left Nashik but the accused were spotted by a local resident who raised an alarm, police added.
The accused panicked and fled from the spot after throwing the body out of the car. The abandoned vehicle, an XUV 500, was found at Shrirampur in Ahmednagar.
Sachin Patil, superintendent of Nashik Rural police, said, “We formed multiple teams who searched for the accused in Nashik, Ahmednagar and Mumbai. With the help of informers, we have arrested four accused, including a servant and driver of the deceased. Two more accused, including the shooter, are at large. The motive behind the crime was usurping his (Chishti’s) properties. As the deceased was a refugee, he could not buy any property in his name and so he had bought the properties in the name of one of the accused.”
The accused have been identified as Ganesh alias Deva Babasaheb Jhingjad alias Patil, 28, a resident of Rahata in Ahmednagar, the preacher’s driver Ravindra Tore 25, a resident of Kopargaon Ahmednagar, Pawan Aher, 26, a resident of Yeola, and the main accused Gafar Ahmed Khan, 42, a servant of Chishti.
Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inbox
Lottery Box-India’s most professional lottery interactive community.dear lottery online