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Amravati Chemist's Murder: Special Court Extends Remand Of 7 Accused After NIA Raises National Security Concerns

Sharmeen Hakim
15 July 2022 2:17 PM GMT
Amravati Chemists Murder: Special Court Extends Remand Of 7 Accused After NIA Raises National Security Concerns
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A special court in Mumbai extended the NIA custody of seven men till July 22 in connection with the murder of a chemist from Amravati, Umesh Kolhe (54), allegedly killed for WhatsApp posts supporting suspended BJP's spokesperson Nupur Sharma. Journalists were not allowed to remain present in the courtroom during the remand hearing. During the hearing, while NIA's counsel submitted...

A special court in Mumbai extended the NIA custody of seven men till July 22 in connection with the murder of a chemist from Amravati, Umesh Kolhe (54), allegedly killed for WhatsApp posts supporting suspended BJP's spokesperson Nupur Sharma.

Journalists were not allowed to remain present in the courtroom during the remand hearing.

During the hearing, while NIA's counsel submitted that the issue would have "international ramifications" and the act was done to "terrorise a section of society," the defence contended that the agency was trying to give a different colour to a murder case.

It is the NIA's claim that the victim had updated his WhatsApp status supporting Sharma who made derogatory remarks against the prophet. One of the accused Dr Yusuf Khan, who was on the same WhatsApp group as Kolhe asked him to remove his status.

However, when Kolhe refused Khan asked people to professionally ban Kolhe. Kolhe's throat was slit on June 21 by two bike borne assailants. The case was initially investigated by the local police, however, NIA took over the investigations earlier this month.

The seven accused are 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. They are book under sections 16,18 and 19 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and under sections 302, 120B and 34 of the IPC.

ARGUMENTS

The NIA's counsel submitted that the issue would have "international ramifications" and the act was done to "terrorise a section of society." The Special prosecutor further claimed that the controversial WhatsApp messages became the foundation of the case.

They sought their remand stating that the accused needed to be taken to Rajasthan, material needed to be sent to FSL, and the accused need to be confronted with the material.

The agency said they want to investigate if there is a conspiracy or link with the brutal murder of a tailor in Udaipur. Moreover, one accused Shamim is still absconding.

Advocate Sharif Shaikh for an accused Muddasar Ahmed submitted that there weren't cogent grounds for further remand. He said that the present incident was prior to the Udaipur incident and that NIA was "trying to give a different colour" to this incident.

He asked the NIA to demonstrate how the public at large was affected and that this couldn't be considered a terror act.

"The sections have not been properly applied and they are giving a different colour to the incident."

The NIA counsel submitted that "perusal of case diary shows that this is a terrorist act."

Advocate Ali Kaashif Khan for most of the accused argued that this was merely a fight between friends and not a terror act. He claimed that at most it could be called a case of murder. He said the victim was also provoking the accused.

Ali argued that even the Supreme Court observed that "Nupur Sharma" is the real reason for all the problems.

The court then remanded the accused to NIA's further custody till July 22, 2022.

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