Parents of girl among 10 arrested for murder of youth in Khanapur

Victim’s mother suspects that he was killed for his relationship with the girl

 

Belagavi police have arrested 10 persons on the charge of murdering Arbaz Mulla, a 25-year-old from Khanapur, for falling in love with a Hindu woman. The investigation revealed that parents of the girl had paid money to kill the youth.

Apart from the parents Eerappa Kumbar, 54, and Susheela Eerappa Kumbar, 42, the other persons arrested are Pundalik alias Majaraj Nagappa Mutagekar of Ottoli village, 39; Qutbuddin Allabaksh Bepari, 36, Maruti Prahlad Sugate alias Gondhali, 30, Manjunath Tukaram Gondhali, 25, Ganapati Jnyaneshwar Sugate alias Gondhali, 27, and Prashant Kallappa Patil, 28, all from Khanapur; and Praveen Shankar Pujeri, 28, of Balekundri; and Sridhar Mahadev Doni, 31, from Honaga.

Superintendent of Police Lakshman Nimbargi said that Najeema Sheikh, the victim’s mother, had given a complaint to the railway police that her son was killed for his relationship with Shwetha Kumbar, a girl from her neighbourhood in Khanapur. She suspected the involvement of three persons: the girl’s father, ‘Maharaj’ and one person named Birje.

A special team was set up to investigate the murder. Initial investigations revealed that `Maharaj’ was Pundalik and `Birje’ was Prashant Birje.

Investigators have revised the first information report to add some legal provisions. The accused are now charged under Sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence), 341 (wrongful restraint), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 384 (extortion), 388 (extortion by threat), 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 27 of Arms Act (punishment for possession of arms).

Mutagekar is a taluk president of Sri Ram Sena Hindustan (SRS-H), a right-wing outfit active in Belagavi district. Other accused, except the parents and Bepari, are either supporters or members of the organisation.

A senior police officer said that there is no evidence, as of now, to link the offence to the affiliation of the members.

Prashant Birje has not been arrested or named as an accused.

“Birje has not been named as he does not seem to be involved in the commission of the offence, at least as of now,” the officer said.

Ramakant Konduskar, district president of SRS-H, admits that the accused are members of his organisation. “I am proud that Mutagekar and others are SRS- H members. They have been active on inter-faith affairs and marriages. They have rescued hundreds of innocent girls from falling prey to Muslim youth. But they will never kill anyone,” he told The Hindu.

Konduskar had been a trusted lieutenant of Pramod Mutalik, founder of Sri Ram Sena, for several years. After the duo developed differences, Konduskar broke away from Sri Ram Sena and formed his own organisation, which he named Sri Ram Sena Hindustan. Konduskar has unsuccessfully contested two legislative Assembly elections from Belagavi.

Latif Khan Pathan, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen state unit secretary, said that they put off a strike scheduled for October 8, in which their leader Asaduddin Owaisi was expected to participate, after being assured by the SP of prompt action against the accused. He has demanded a ban on SRS-H and its affiliated organisations.

The special team was formed by the SP after the Karnataka government transferred the case to the district police. It is headed by Deputy SP Shivanand Katagi. Circle Inspectors U.H. Satenahalli, Suresh Singi and S.B. Malagond, and Sub-Inspectors U.S. Avati and Shivanand Karjol are the other members of the team.

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