Outer view of a medical shop of Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe, a 54-year-old chemist, who was killed for alleged social media post backing Nupur Sharma, in Amravati district of Maharashtra. | Photo: ANI

The police on Saturday arrested the mastermind and seventh accused in the brutal killing of Amravati-based shop owner Umesh Kolhe. The accused has been identified as Shaikh Irfan Shaikh Rahim.

“Police have arrested the seventh accused and the mastermind in connection to Umesh Kolhe murder case,” said Police Inspector, City Kotwali PS (Amravati), Nilima Araj. Investigators so far believe that Kolhe was killed allegedly in retaliation for a social media post supporting BJP`s Nupur Sharma who had made controversial comments on the Prophet in a television debate.

Exactly a week before tailor Kanhaiya Lal Teli was hacked to death in Udaipur, Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe, a 54-year-old chemist, was killed in Maharashtra`s Amravati district on June 21. Initial investigation by the City Kotwali Police Station in Amravati following a complaint by Umesh Kohle`s son Sanket Kohle led them to arrest two persons – Muddsir Ahemad, 22, and Shahrukh Pathan, 25, on June 23.

Their interrogation revealed the involvement of four more persons, of which three — Abdul Thoufik, 24, Shoaib Khan, 22, and Atib Rashid, 22 — were arrested on June 25, while one was absconding.

Earlier today, Union Home Minister Amit Shah directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take over the probe into the brutal killing of Maharashtra`s Amravati-based shop owner Umesh Kolhe on June 21, after he wrote a post in support of Nupur Sharma on Facebook.

Home Minister`s Office (HMO) made the announcement through its Twitter handle as the matter was similar to the Udaipur case in which a tailor Kanhaiya Lal Teli was killed in broad daylight by two men.

“MHA has handed over the investigation of the case relating to the barbaric killing of Shri Umesh Kolhe in Amravati Maharashtra on 21st June to NIA,” HMO India tweeted.

In the tweet, it is directed that “the conspiracy behind the killing, involvement of organisations and international linkages would be thoroughly investigated”.

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