July 3, 2022 5:58:28 pm
Irfan Khan, 35, the alleged mastermind behind the killing of a chemist in Maharashtra’s Amravati district last month, was produced before a magistrate court on Sunday afternoon and remanded in police custody till July 7.
Neelima Araj, senior inspector of City Kotwali police, argued before the magistrate that Irfan Khan was the one who instigated the other accused to commit the murder. She told the court that they needed Irfan Khan’s custody to recover his mobile phone, two-wheeler and four-wheeler (used in the crime) and to secure details of his bank account used to run his NGO’s helpline called ‘Rahebar’. The police said his mobile phone was needed to find out further links, if any, in the case.
“My client is a social worker and helped many people during the pandemic. He was not at the spot and has nothing to do with the crime. His custodial interrogation is not required,” said the accused’s lawyer Murtuza Azad who argued along with another advocate Wasim Shaikh.
The public prosecutor countered the defence argument that the (IPC) section of criminal conspiracy was applied and said the accused was the main conspirator. After hearing both sides, magistrate A R Kalhapure remanded Irfan Khan in police custody.
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The police on Saturday confirmed the arrest of Irfan Khan and Yusuf Khan, 44, a veterinary doctor, taking the total number of arrests in the murder case to seven. The Union home ministry handed over the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) the same day.
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Irfan Khan, who was arrested from Nagpur, was a resident of the Kamela area, a chawl at Pathan Chowk in Amravati, and allegedly conspired with five of the arrested accused and assigned tasks to them. He even provided logistical support like vehicles and cash, according to the police. They were his friends and through him volunteered in social activities, said the police. The other accused, Yusuf Khan, was also known to Irfan Khan, added the police.
Irfan Khan, the police said, had earned the respect and love of people in his neighbourhood when his NGO, along with several others, helped to complete the last rites of more than 50 victims of Covid-19. He supported the CAA-NRC protests too, said the police.
A school dropout, Irfan Khan lived with his mother, a younger brother, wife, two sons, including one who is specially abled, and a daughter, according to the police. For the last week or so, his house was locked, according to the police.
Khan’s neighbours said they were in “utter shock” on hearing he was involved in a murder and that he was being falsely implicated. They said he was a welder earlier but his business ran into trouble during the pandemic. They also said that around seven years ago, he became “extremely” religious and took up social activities, including solving marital discords, within the community.
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