A team of the National Investigation Agency visited Amravati city in eastern Maharashtra on Saturday for probe into the killing of a chemist after it emerged that the crime might be linked to his social media posts supporting suspended Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nupur Sharma.
The chemist, Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe (54), was killed on June 21, and Maharashtra police have arrested five persons in connection with the incident.
Earlier in the day, a Union home ministry spokesperson tweeted that the probe of the case has been handed over to the NIA.
An NIA team has reached Amravati, said a senior police official in Mumbai.
A team of Anti-Terrorism Squad of state police from Aurangabad is also visiting the city, said an official.
Kolhe's killing had taken place a week before two men hacked to death a tailor in Rajasthan's Udaipur before posting videos online saying that they were avenging an insult to Islam.
The NIA is also probing the killing of the Udaipur tailor, Kanhaiya Lal.
As per state police, Kolhe was killed between 10 pm and 10.30 pm on June 21 when he was returning home on a two-wheeler after closing his shop.
"Five persons have been arrested in connection with the murder and search is on to trace prime accused Irfan Khan (32), who runs an NGO," Amravati commissioner of police Dr Aarti Singh had said earlier.
"Kolhe ran a medical store. He had allegedly shared a post on some WhatsApp groups in support of Nupur Sharma for her comments (against Prophet Mohammad)," an official of the City Kotwali police station said.
Khan allegedly hatched a conspiracy to kill Kolhe and roped in five others, promising to pay them Rs 10,000 and safe escape in a car after the killing, he said.
The police arrested Muddsir Ahemad (22), Shahrukh Pathan (25), Abdul Thoufique (24) Shoaib Khan (22) and Atib Rashid (22), all residents of Amravati and daily wage workers.
They also seized the knife used in the crime and obtained CCTV footage that captured the sequence of events.
The BJP on June 5 suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled Delhi BJP media head Navin Jindal after their alleged derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad led to outrage in India and also in some Muslim countries.