Police in Maharashtra’s Amravati are searching for a 32-year-old man named Irfan Khan believed to be the prime suspect in the murder of a chemist.

The chemist, identified as Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe, was stabbed to death allegedly over a social media post in support of Nupur Sharma, whose remarks on Prophet Mohammed led to a global condemnation. 

“Five persons have been arrested in connection with the murder of the chemist and a search is on to trace the prime accused Irfan Khan (32), who runs a NGO,” Amravati commissioner of police Dr Aarti Singh said Saturday.

Also Read | Who was Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe, chemist killed in Amravati for alleged support of Nupur Sharma?

“Kolhe ran a medical store in Amravati city. He had allegedly shared a post on some WhatsApp groups in support of Nupur Sharma for her comments. He even mistakenly shared the post in a WhatsApp group in which some Muslims were also members, including his customers.”

Officials investigating Kolhe’s death said that Khan took the help of five people to kill the 54-year-old chemist. He allegedly promised to give Rs 10,000 to his accomplices and a safe escape in a car, police said. The police have seized the knife used in the crime 

The five accomplices have been identified as Muddsir Ahemad (22), Shahrukh Pathan (25), Abdul Thoufique (24), Shoaib Khan (22) and Atib Rashid (22), according to English Jagran.

Also Read | Days before Udaipur beheading, Amravati man stabbed for supporting Nupur Sharma

A spokesperson for the Union Home Ministry said that it has handed over the investigation into the killing of the chemist to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The NIA would also investigate any involvement of organisations and international linkages in the case.

The incident occurred a week before two men beheaded Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, at his shop before posting videos online saying they had committed the crime to avenge an insult to Islam.

On June 5, the BJP its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma after her alleged derogatory remarks against the Prophet that led to an outrage in India and Gulf countries.