March 7, 2021 1:07:26 am
The post-mortem report of Mansukh Hiren (46), the owner of the Scorpio vehicle found near the residence of billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani with gelatin sticks and a threat letter, has reserved its opinion on the cause of death, noting that there were no major external injury marks on the body. The viscera has now been sent for forensic analysis.
Hiren’s body had been found floating at Kalwa creek in Mumbra on Friday morning. An automobile accessories dealer, he had left his shop in Thane at 8.30 pm on Thursday, and his phone had been switched off after 10.30 pm. His family had registered a missing person’s report at the local police station. Police have registered a case of death by drowning.
On Saturday, a four-page letter Hiren sent to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and the Police Commissioners of Mumbai and Thane two days before he went missing surfaced, where he claims he had been interrogated nearly six times by various agencies, including the NIA, on the matter, either on phone or in person, and was being chased by the media.
“These interrogations from various agencies had disturbed my peace of mind and in spite of being a victim, I am being treated as an accused. I have also been receiving phone calls from various reporters of newspapers and TV channels who are also harassing me and my family unnecessarily,” Hiren said in the letter.
While the investigation into Hiren’s death along with probe into the suspected threat to Ambani were handed over to the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad by Deshmukh on Friday, sources said the NIA could take over the matter.
After the post-mortem, Hiren’s body was handed over to his family members for final rites. The family, which had refused to take the body till a murder case was registered, agreed to accept it after Zonal DCP Avinash Ambure talked to them.
Hiren’s family has said he left his home in Thane on Thursday night after receiving a call from “Tawde from Kandivali”, who identified himself as a policeman investigating the Ambani case and called Hiren to Ghodbunder in Thane for interrogation. The ATS is checking Hiren’s call details to determine who called him.
Sources said Hiren’s mobile phone had been traced up to Vasai-Virar, after which it was found switched off. A senior ATS officer said, “We have just begun investigating and will be taking over the case files from the Thane and Mumbai Police.”
On February 25, hours after the Scorpio was discovered parked outside the Ambani residence Antilia, setting off a security scare, police had tracked the vehicle to Hiren, based on the chassis number, with someone having tried to scratch it off. The registration number was also found to be fake.
Hiren had told police the vehicle had been stolen from him. Over the course of the next few days, he had been interrogated several times by police, at times for hours together.
The case was transferred from the Mumbai Police to the ATS after former CM Devendra Fadnavis alleged in the Assembly that there had been calls between Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze, the Investigating Officer in the Ambani case, and Hiren in June and July, and that there was something suspicious about the whole investigation. Fadnavis had demanded that the probe be handed over to the NIA.
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