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IANS

A court in Maharashtra's Amravati district on Sunday sent the prime accused in the murder of chemist Umesh Pralhadrao Kolhe to police custody till July 7, officials said here.

The accused - Sheikh Irfan - who is also the mastermind behind the dastardly killing of Kolhe on the night of June 21, was nabbed from Nagpur on Saturday, hours after the Centre handed over the probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The other accused arrested are Mudassir Ahmed, 22, Shahrukh Pathan, 25, Abdul Taufiq , 24, Shoib Khan, 22, Atib Rashid, 22, and Yusuf Bahadur Khan.

Currently, Irfan, 35, is being interrogated by the investigation team, and the police indicate the possibility of more arrests being carried out in the case.

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis termed the Amravati incident as a "very serious matter and the killing was barbaric" and the NIA will attempt to unravel if it has any international links.

Former Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil, declining to comment, merely said that now the NIA has taken over the probe, they will do a thorough job.

Kolhe, 54, a veterinary chemist was waylaid on the night of June 21 when he was driving home on his scooter, and stabbed in the neck, after he allegedly forwarded some posts supporting ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma's comments.

The incident - which took place at the height of a political crisis in the state - was virtually ignored and shot to limelight after the Centre asked the NIA to probe the matter.

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