Police have identified Irfan Khan, 35, who was arrested from Nagpur on Saturday, as the “mastermind” behind the killing of the chemist in Amravati last month.
According to police, Irfan is the common link between at least four of the five arrested earlier. While Irfan is the convenor of a registered NGO that runs a helpline called “Rahebar” — its Facebook page says it works to rehabilitate the differently-abled — four others who have been arrested, including the alleged killer, also volunteered with the NGO.
The four have been identified as Muddassir Shaikh, 22; Abdul Taufiq Taslim, 24; Shahrukh Khan, 25; and Shoaib Khan, 22. Shoaib is alleged to have stabbed the chemist. The fifth person arrested earlier has been identified as Atib Rashid, 22.
Irfan is a resident of Kamela area, a chawl at Pathan Chowk. His neighbours said he was a welder earlier, but his business ran into trouble during the pandemic.
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About seven years ago, he became “extremely religious” and took up social activities, they said. He is also reported to have supported the anti-CAA protests.
Irfan, a school dropout, lived with his mother, a younger brother, wife, two sons including one who is specially-abled, and a daughter. For the last week or so, his house has been locked.
“I knew him well. He would came to the police station with public issues… He has a petty assault case against him; he was also detained for questioning when he helped his friend to elope with a girl from another community,” said a police source.
According to local sources, Muddassir Shaikh and Abdul Taufiq Taslim, two of Irfan’s friends who have been arrested, were also “very religious”. “Abdul was short-tempered. A few years ago, he went to the Nagpuri Gate police station in the middle of the night, demanding that an FIR be registered against a Facebook post for hurting religious sentiments. After the chemist’s murder, he bragged to others that he had killed the man who insulted the Prophet. Police got their first lead from this,” said a source.
‘The biggest problem is our dependence on imported energy, which is 4% of our GDP’