The Special Investigation Team formed to look into the murder of Hindu Samaj Party leader Kamlesh Tiwari arrested a cleric based in Uttar Pradesh’s city of Bareilly on Thursday for allegedly sheltering the two accused, The Indian Express reported. This followed two days after the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism squad arrested the main suspects in the case.

Tiwari, purportedly also a member of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, was attacked inside his office in Khurshed Bagh in Lucknow on Friday. The assailants slit his throat, and shot him. He died while undergoing treatment in the hospital. The main suspects were identified as 34-year-old Ashfaq Hussain Jakir Hussain Shaikh and 27-year-old Moinuddin Khurshid Pathan.

“Kafi Ali provided shelter to Ashfaq and Moinuddin for around three hours in Bareilly,” an unidentified officer of the SIT was quoted as saying. “He has been booked under IPC [Indian Penal Code] section 216 [harbouring offender]. He would be booked under more charges if the ongoing investigation found him involved in the murder conspiracy,”

The cleric was detained on Monday night and action was taken against him after police made him confront the two accused, according to a report in Dainik Jagran. Officials also held another resident of Bareilly, identified as Naved, who allegedly tried to help the suspected assailants to flee to Nepal.

The Gujarat ATS handed over the accused to the Uttar Pradesh Police as the case was registered with Lucknow Police. According to the ATS, the suspects had confessed to the crime and said they committed it “in retribution to purported statements” by Tiwari.

With the two new suspects in the case, the number of arrested have gone up to seven. Rashid Pathan, Faizan Sheikh and Maulana Mohsin Sheikh were arrested in Surat in a joint operation with the Uttar Pradesh Police. A court in Lucknow sent them to police custody on Tuesday for four days.

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