In a shocking crime, a refugee Sufi cleric from Afghanistan was sprayed with bullets in the Yeola town of Maharashtra’s Nashik district, police said here on Wednesday.
According to the Investigation Officer, the incident occurred around 7.15 p.m. on Tuesday in an open deserted plot near the MIDC industrial zone in the town.
Preliminary probe revealed that at least four unidentified persons suddenly came there and fired multiple rounds at the Afghan cleric, targeting him in the head and neck, leading to his instant death.
The victim has been identified as Khwaja Sayyed Chishti, 35, a refugee from Afghanistan, popular locally as ‘Sufibaba’ and used to preach in several religious gatherings or mausoleums.
After committing the crime, the four assailants fled with an SUV parked nearby, reportedly owned by the Chishti, and efforts are on to track it.
Nashik Superintendent of Police (Rural) Sachin Patil said that a case of murder has been registered and investigations were underway to trace the four suspected assailants.
The police officer said that Chishti was an Afghanistan passport holder who had come to India around four years ago and was living legally.
“Initially he was in Delhi, then moved to Karnataka and since recently was living in Maharashtra, having permission from the Centre to stay in the country,” said Patil.
The motive behind the ghastly crime — tentatively suspected to be a property-linked matter — is being probed, and a manhunt has been launched for the killers and efforts to find the getaway vehicle.
The Yeola Police have formed a special team to probe the incident which has sent shockwaves in the local Muslim communities.
Action initiated, says SpiceJet on smoking video inside aircraft
Referring to a video making rounds on social media of a passenger smoking onboard a SpiceJet aircraft, the airline on Thursday said that the issue was probed, and necessary action was taken into the matter.
The passenger was put on a No Flying list by the airline for 15 days in February this year, said a SpiceJet spokesperson.
“The matter had been investigated thoroughly in January 2022 when the video was brought to our notice and a complaint had been filed by the airline with the Udyog Vihar police station in Gurugram. The video, the investigation had revealed, was shot on January 20 while passengers were boarding the flight SG 706 scheduled to operate from Dubai to Delhi,” said a SpiceJet spokesperson.
The airline said that the said passenger and his co-passengers shot the video on the 21st row when the cabin crew were occupied with completing the on-boarding procedure.
“None of the passengers or crew was aware of the act. The matter came to the airline’s notice on January 24 through social media posts,” it added.
The matter was referred to the Internal Committee constituted as per the provisions of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) on handling of unruly passengers (not consisting of any SpiceJet employee). The said passenger was put on a no flying list by the airline for 15 days in February.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday directed the concerned authorities to probe a person who in violation of rules lit up a cigarette and smoked on an aircraft. Responding to a video on Twitter, Scindia said: “Investigating it. There will be no tolerance towards such hazardous behaviour.”
Gold, cash worth Rs 390 cr seized in week-long I-T raid in Maharashtra’s Jalna
The Income Tax Department has seized cash and valuables worth Rs 390 crore following a raid on the premises of Maharashtra’s Jalna businessman, who deals in garments, real estate and in steel.
I-T department’s 260 officials divided into five teams carried out a week-long raid. The agency used 120 vehicles to carry out this raid.
Sources said that they seized around Rs 58 crore in cash, 32 kg gold and valuable stones.
The source also said that it took 13 hours to count the cash.
“It was a week-long raid that started from August 1. Our Nasik Branch team got the tip off following which the raids were conducted. Seeing the gravity of the matter we formed teams of 260 officials divided into five teams. We also used 120 of our vehicles in the raid,” the source said.
The source said that the cash recovered from the premises of garments and steel businessman was taken to Nasik branch of State Bank of India, where it was counted for hours. The bank employees started counting the cash at around 11 a.m., which went on till 1 a.m.
The I-T department got the tip off that there were irregularities in the accounts of four steel companies after which the teams swung into action.
The team of 260 officials raided the factories but they didn’t recover anything. Later they raided a farm house where they found the huge cash and valuables.
Nupur Sharma Row: SC clubs, transfers all FIRs to Delhi Police
The Supreme Court on Wednesday transferred all the FIRs lodged against suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammad to Delhi Police.
The top court gave her the liberty to approach the Delhi High Court for quashing of the FIRs, and also declined to entertain a plea moved by the West Bengal government for a court-monitored SIT probe.
A bench comprising justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala ordered clubbing of all the FIRs registered across the country against Sharma, which will be probed by the Delhi Police.
The top court in the process brushed aside vehement opposition by the West Bengal government, which wanted its police to be part of the SIT with the Delhi Police or a court-appointed SIT.
The bench allowed Sharma to move the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the FIRs lodged or to be lodged for her alleged remarks in the future.
It added that all the FIRs to be lodged in future in connection with her remarks will be transferred to Delhi Police.
The top court made it clear that protection from arrest to Sharma will continue in all pending and future FIRs. The bench also noted that an FIR has been registered by the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit of Delhi Police, which is a specialised agency, and suggested that it should carry out the investigation.
Senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy, representing the West Bengal government, objected to the transfer of FIRs to Delhi Police by saying that the first FIR against Sharma was registered in Mumbai, and argued that the accused cannot be allowed to pick the jurisdiction.
Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Sharma, said the top court’s intervention is required, as his client has received life threats after the TV debate where she made the alleged remarks.
On July 19, the top court had ordered that no coercive action can be taken against Sharma in FIRs already registered and also in future FIRs in connection with her remarks.
The top court had said: “Meanwhile, as an interim measure it is directed that no coercive action shall be taken against Nupur Sharma pursuant to the impugned FIRs.”
Sharma had moved the Supreme Court seeking stay on her arrest in the nine FIRs filed against her for her remarks on Prophet Muhammad and also sought clubbing/quashing of the FIRs with the FIR registered in Delhi.
On July 1, the top court had minced no words in slamming Sharma, whose remarks on the Prophet sparked a nationwide controversy. The top court had said that her loose tongue has set the entire country on fire and her irresponsible remarks shows that she is “obstinate and arrogant”.
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