Umesh Kolhe killing: Ex-CM Thackeray's alleged phone-call to be probed

Nagpur, Dec 23 (IANS): In a major jolt, the Maharashtra government on Friday ordered a probe into whether former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had pressurised the Amravati Police to probe the killing of local chemist Umesh Kolhe from the robbery angle.

Minister Shambhuraj Desai said that the State Intelligence Department (SID) will investigate whether Thackeray had asked the Amravati Commissioner of Police Arti Singh to examine the robbery angle in Kolhe's killing, now being handled by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Desai's stunning announcement came after Amravati independent MLA Ravi Rana raised the issue in the Assembly through a calling attention motion on Friday.

Rana said that Kolhe was murdered on June 21, when Thackeray was the CM of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, but the police allegedly probed the case through the robbery angle.

"It was Uddhav Thackeray who called up the Police Commissioner Arti Singh to investigate the robbery angle in the case at the behest of a local Congress leader. We want that his phone call must be probed through a special investigation team," demanded Rana.

It may be recalled that Rana and his independent MP wife Navneet Kaur-Rana have been at loggerheads with the Thackerays, especially after the Hanuman Chalisa row that erupted in April-May this year.

The couple had been arrested after they attempted to enter Thackeray's private residence to recite Hanuman Chalisa and spent several days in custody, during the MVA regime.

Replying on behalf of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Desai assured the SID probe on who called whom, whether attempts were made to suppress the matter and the report would be submitted to (Fadavis) for suitable action.

This is second big rattler for the Thackeray father-son duo, coming a day after the state government announced a Mumbai Police SIT to probe the killing of former celeb-entrepreneur Disha Salian case.

Several BJP leaders including Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane, his MLA son Nitesh Rane, ex-MP Kirit Somaiya and others have claimed the involvement of Aditya Thackeray in the matter, though he has stoutly denied it.

Kolhe, 54, was killed by three attackers late on June 21 when he was returning home from his pharmacy shop for allegedly posting messages supporting the then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma's alleged controversial comments on Prophet Mohammed.

After the MVA government collapsed, the new government handed over the Kolhe case to the NIA which filed its charge-sheet this week.



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