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Amravati killing 'larger conspiracy by a group' to promote religious enmity: NIA

New Delhi: The brutal killing of Maharashtra's Amravati-based pharmacist Umesh Kolhe on June 21 was an act of "larger conspiracy by a group of persons" who conspired to strike terror amongst a section of people of India and to promote enmity on the grounds of religion, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) FIR says.

Kolhe's murder, the FIR further states, was carried out as part of the conspiracy to "terrorise a section of the people of India and the case may have national and international linkages".

Amravati-based pharmacist Umesh Pralhadrao Kolhe, 54, was hacked to death on June 21 night after he wrote a post in support of former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nupur Sharma on Facebook.
The NIA re-registered the case on July 2 under Sections 16, 18 and 20 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

The FIR mentions that City Kotwali Police Station in Maharashtra's Amravati received information about the brutal killing of Kolhe with a knife and filed a case on June 22 against three unidentified accused persons. The case was registered on the complaint of Sanket Umesh Kolhe, the son of the deceased.
A resident of the Ghanashyam Nagar area in Amravati, Kolhe was killed around 10 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. on June 21 while he was returning to his home.

As per facts that surfaced during investigations, sections 153(A), 153(B) and 120(B) of IPC and sections 16, 18 and 20 of UA(P) Act are attracted in the case, which are scheduled offences under the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, noted the FIR.

The NIA was directed by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah on July 1 to take over the case, and an order followed regarding this from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The MHA order pointed "the Central Government is of the opinion that a Scheduled Offence under the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, has been committed and having regards to the gravity of the offence, and repercussions to the national security, it is required to be investigated by the National Investigation Agency in accordance with the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008".
The suspects identified in the case are Mudassir Ahmed, Sharukh Pathan, Abdul Thoufik, Shoaib Khan, Atib Rashid, Yusuf Khan Bahadur Khan, and Shahim Ahmad Firoz Ahmad. All of them have been arrested by the Maharashtra police.
The NIA on Wednesday conducted searches at 13 locations in the case and seized various incriminating documents comprising pamphlets spreading hate messages.

During the searches conducted at the premises of the accused and suspects, the NIA claimed to have seized digital devices (mobile phones, SIM cards, memory cards, DVRs), knives and other incriminating documents and materials.
The investigators so far believe that Kolhe was allegedly killed in retaliation for a social media post supporting BJP's Nupur Sharma who had made controversial comments on the Prophet in a television debate.

The killing took place exactly a week before tailor Kanhaiyalal Teli was hacked to death in Rajasthan's Udaipur district, a case that shocked the whole country. (ANI)

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