Mangaluru, 24 June 2017: The sordid murder of SDPI leader Ashraf Kalayi was part of a carefully hatched plot to disturb communal harmony in the region. The murder had been planned more than a month back and quick action by the police has resulted in the arrest of five of the accused. Two persons who are the main accused in the crime are still at large and they too will be nabbed shortly. This was disclosed by Harishekharan, Inspector General of Police (IGP), (western range).
Addressing a hurriedly called press conference this evening, Harishekharan said Ashraf Kalayi had been hacked to death at about 11:30 am on 21st June. “About 6 to 7 youth followed Ashraf Kalayi on motorbikes as he went through Benjanapadav in his rickshaw, where they waylaid him and murdered him brutally. Subsequently we formed four teams to follow various leads and crack the case,” he said.
The IGP also announced that 5 of the suspects have already been nabbed and police are hot on the heels of two suspects who are identified as the main conspirators of the plot. .
Pawan Kumar alias Punda (24), Ranjith (28) and Abhin Rai alias Abhi (23) of Bantwal and Santosh alias Santhu (23) and Shivaprasad alias Shivu (24) of Thumbay are the suspects who are arrested, he informed. The arrested youth were paraded before the media with their faces covered. They were all arrested from a hideout near Padubidri based on specific information gained by the investigators, Harishekharan said. All are history sheeters having previous record of crime. They have been produced in court and remanded to police custody for five days.
He identified Bharat Kumdelu and Divyaraj Shetty as the chief conspirators who had hatched the plot to kill Ashraf over a month back. The IGP expressed confidence that they would be nabbed within two days.
The murder victim Ashraf Kalayi was the Ammunje unit president of Social Democratic Party of India. The district has been experiencing tense communal situation during the last week with a few incidences of violence reported from Kalladka village near Bantwal. The murder of Ashraf Kalayi on Wednesday further threatened to deteriorate the situation. Bhushan Gulabrao Borase, the then Superintendent of Police of the district had been issued transfer orders the same day and another IPS officer Sudheer Kumar had replaced him the very next morning.
Sudheer Kumar was present during the press conference convened by Harishekharan today.