SDPI’s Ammunje unit President Ashraf Kalayi was brutally hacked to death in broad daylight at Benjanapadavu in Dakshina Kannada district on June 21.

Prime accused in Karnataka SDPI leader Ashrafs murder taken into custodyDigital Native
news Murder Monday, June 26, 2017 - 13:05

The Mangaluru Police have taken into custody the prime suspect in the brutal murder of a Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) leader, Mohammed Ashraf Kalayi.

According to a senior police official, one of the prime accused in the case, Divyaraj Shetty, who had been absconding since the murder which took place on June 21, was nabbed and taken for interrogation on Sunday night.

SDPI’s Ammunje unit President Ashraf Kalayi was brutally hacked to death in broad daylight at Benjanapadavu in Dakshina Kannada district by several bike-borne assailants on June 21.

Communal tensions prevailed in the district following Ashraf’s murder and the police had clamped Section 144 in the entire district till June 27.

According to the police, Divyaraj and Bharat are the prime accused in the case. IGP Harishekharan said that the duo had hatched a plan to eliminate Ashraf a month ago and took help from five others to execute it.

The senior police official said that Divyaraj and Bharat had planned to kill Ashraf to extract revenge for the murder of Rajesh Poojary.

Rajesh Poojary was an auto rickshaw driver and pro-Hindu activist from Shivajinagar in Benjanapadavu, who was hacked to death on March 21 in 2014.

“Divyaraj and Bharat believed that Ashraf had helped the family members of those who had murdered Rajesh Poojary, when they were lodged in jail. This made the two want to extract revenge,” the police official said.

IGP Harishekaran said that Divyaraj, Bharat, and the other accused followed Ashraf on June 21 and hacked him to death.

“A few of the weapons used in the crime were found at the spot. While they were fleeing from the spot, one of the bikes developed a snag, after which Divyaraj and Bharat separated into two groups and took different routes. The investigation teams received information that the accused were in Padubidri in Udupi, from where they were arrested. Four bikes, a sword and daggers were used to commit the crime,” the IGP said.

The other accused in the case, Pawan Kumar alias Punda (24), Ranjith (28), and Abhin Rai alias Abhi (23), from Bantwal, Santosh alias Santhu (23) and Shivaprasad alias Shivu (24) from Thumbay were arrested by the police on Saturday. They have been taken to a secret location and are being interrogated.

Abhin Rai was involved in Tipu Jayanti clashes during 2015. Shivaprasad is an accused in a communal clash in Thumbay and two other cases. Ranjith was allegedly involved in two cases and Pawan in five, including one in which a pig carcass was kept near a mosque to spark communal clashes in 2012, the IGP said.

Shivaprasad, Ranjith, Pawan, Santhosh were also allegedly involved in the murder attempt of a person named Unaid on June 20. Unaid was attacked in Thumbay and a case has been filed in Bantwal Rural Police Station.

The five accused have been produced in the court and remanded to police custody for five days.

Except Santosh, all the other accused have been involved in several criminal cases in and around Bantwal. While all the suspects have been nabbed, the police are yet to trace Bharat.

Harishekaran said that the City Crime Branch (CCB) sleuths and the special team formed to investigate the murder cracked the case.

“The teams travelled to Kerala, Bengaluru and Chikkamagaluru and gathered information related to the case,” he said.