A special court for terrorism cases in Karnataka has handed over custody of five key accused in the July 26 murder of BJP youth leader Praveen Nettaru in Dakshina Kannada to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The NIA approached the special court on Thursday for custody of the accused till August 23 after the Karnataka Police completed custodial investigations on August 16, officials said.
The five accused who have been handed over to the custody of the NIA are Naufal M, 28, Sainul Abid, 22, Mohammed Shiyab, 32, Abdul Basheer, 27, and Riyaz, 29, they added.
The Karnataka Police arrested three of the accused – Shiyab, Basheer and Riyaz – on August 11 and named them as the main attackers who carried out the murder of Nettaru, 32, on the night of July 26 in Bellare village of the state’s coastal Dakshina Kannada district. The three were in the custody of the police from August 11 to 16 and the state police have claimed to have recovered the weapons used in the hacking of the BJP youth leader as well as vehicles used by the assailants.
A total of 10 persons have been arrested by the police for the murder of Praveen Nettaru. The police have suggested that some of the accused are linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) and that further investigations are necessary to establish these links. The five accused are the first among the 10 arrested to be taken into the central agency’s custody.
Although a decision to hand over the investigation of the murder case was taken on July 29 by the BJP government in Karnataka, the actual handover of the case was delayed till the Karnataka police executed the arrest of the main assailants, on August 11, after concrete leads had been obtained regarding the assailants in the early investigations by the police.