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Chemist murder: Victim's brother breaks his silence over the incident

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Mumbai, July 2: The brother of the chemist who was allegedly killed over social media posts in Maharashtra's Amravati city supporting Nupur Sharma said that the deceased had shared some posts on WhatsApp group related to Nupur Sharma, but wondered whether the murder was committed only for forwarding those messages.

Chemist murder: Victims brother breaks his silence over the incident

The chemist, Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe, was killed on June 21.

"My brother forwarded some messages about Nupur Sharma in some Whatsapp groups but we're not able to understand why was he killed because of 2-4 forwarded messages? He didn't forward them to anyone individually," news agency ANI quoted Mahesh Kolhe as saying.

Explaining the incident, he said, "On June 21 night, while my brother was enroute to his home after shutting his shop, some people attacked him & he was stabbed with a knife. When I reached there, he was already dead: Mahesh Kolhe, brother of Umesh Kolhe who was murdered in Amravati, Maharashtra."

Mahesh Kolhe said that the deceased never mentioned about death threats. "We're yet to ascertain the reasons behind his murder. He never told us about receiving any threats. He forwarded some messages on Nupur Sharma in some Whatsapp groups, but not to anyone individually: Mahesh Kolhe, brother of Umesh Kolhe who was murdered in Amravati," he added.

Meanwhile, the government on Saturday decided to hand over the probe into the killing of the chemist to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), as the case was suspected to be a terror incident after it appeared that the victim was hacked to death for social media posts in support of Nupur Sharma who was suspended from the BJP following her remarks on Prophet Mohammad.

A Home Ministry spokesperson tweeted that the probe of the case relating to the "barbaric killing" of Kolhe has been handed over to the NIA.

The federal probe agency would thoroughly investigate the conspiracy behind the killing and involvement of organisations and international linkages.

Khole's killing had taken place a week before two men hacked to death Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor in Rajasthan's Udaipur, with a cleaver at his shop before posting videos online saying that they were avenging an insult to Islam. That case is also being probed by the NIA.

The Maharashtra Police have so far arrested five people in connection with the Amravati killing and are looking for one Irfan Khan, who runs an NGO and is alleged to be the prime accused in the case.

According to the police, Kolhe had allegedly shared a post on some WhatsApp groups in support of Nupur Sharma for her comments following which Khan is alleged to have hatched a conspiracy to eliminate him.

The incident occurred between 10 pm and 10.30 pm on June 21 when Kolhe was returning home on a two-wheeler after closing his shop.

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