Updated: April 24, 2021 2:13:06 am
The NIA on Friday arrested a Mumbai Police inspector in connection with the Ambani terror scare case and subsequent murder of Thane resident Mansukh Hiran. Sunil Mane, who was posted in the Local Arms Unit, is the fifth person and third serving policeman to be arrested in the case.
The NIA claims Mane is involved in Hiran’s murder. The agency produced him before a special court on Friday afternoon and sought his custody for 14 days. Special NIA Judge Rahul R Bhosale granted the agency his custody till April 28.
Mane was summoned by the NIA multiple times during the probe, and faced sustained questioning on Thursday, before he was arrested on Friday.
The NIA sought his custody on grounds including that the agency wanted to obtain and analyse his electronic devices and Call Data Records linked to Hiran’s murder, and a suspicion that he was present at the spot. As per officials, Mane’s presence has been established at a meeting at the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) office, which was headed by co-accused API Sachin Waze at the Mumbai Police headquarters on March 3.
“At least two statements recorded so far have also confirmed that Mane was present in the CIU office when Hiran was being convinced by Waze to get arrested in the terror scare case. Mane was also trying to convince Hiran to do the same,” an officer said. Hiran was linked to the Scorpio car used to plant explosives and a threat letter near the Ambani residence.
However, after Hiran discussed the proposition with his wife, she advised him against it. Following this, a decision was taken to bump off Hiran as he could spill the beans on the plan. An officer said that Waze and other accused then told Hiran to “go underground” till the matter died down.
“It was on the pretext of helping him go underground that the accused called him to meet them at Ghodbunder road on March 4 night,” an officer said. “We believe the person who called Hiran and claimed to be officer ‘Tawde’ was Mane.”
Apart from this, an officer said that co-accused Riyazuddin Kazi, the API arrested by NIA earlier in the case, also told the police that of the five mobile phones and SIM cards that have been procured by them for use during the crime, one of them had been handed over to Mane.
“As per our information, Mane then handed over this phone to another suspect whom we have interrogated in the case.”
Sources said there is a possibility that based on the questioning of Mane, they may arrest a few more persons. The officer said, “So far there are certain individuals whom we suspect were involved in the crime. As and when we get evidence against them, we will bring them in for custodial interrogation.”
Lawyer Aaditya Gore, representing Mane, opposed the remand plea stating that the NIA had not taken sanction while arresting a serving police officer and that he had appeared before the agency, cooperating with the probe.
Meanwhile, the special court extended the judicial custody of Waze and Kazi till May 5.
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