April 27, 2021 2:18:42 am
The NIA on Sunday recovered a crucial piece of evidence — the white Volkswagen Polo vehicle that it believes was used to pick up Mansukh Hiran from near his residence to the spot where he was killed in Thane on March 4.
Over 10 vehicles have so far been seized by the central agency in connection to the murder and the Ambani terror scare cases.
Hiran was a close friend of suspended assistant Mumbai Police inspector Sachin Waze, who has been arrested by NIA in connection to the cases. Hiran was found dead at Mumbra Reti Bandar creek days after the Scorpio he was using was found parked outside the Mukesh Ambani residence in Mumbai on February 25 with gelatin sticks and a threat letter.
The agency is, however, still trying to find an Eeco vehicle that was stolen from Aurangabad and meant to be used in the crime as per the original plan. Eventually, the Scorpio was parked outside the Ambani residence.
Sources said Hiran was told by Sunil Mane – also arrested in connection to the cases – that they would pick him up from near his residence on March 4. The agency believes that Mane also told Hiran to tell his wife that he was going to meet “API Tawde” and not mention Waze’s name.
An officer said the Volkswagen was seized from Borivali on Sunday and belongs to a car showroom owner from BKC, who was known to Mane. A forensic analysis will be carried out to see if any traces of Hiran’s DNA can be found in it.
It is believed on the night of March 4, Waze and Mane picked up Hiran from near from his residence in the Volkswagen Polo. The agency suspects that Hiran was then handed over to other accused waiting in another car.
Sources said that eight persons, including Waze and Mane, are suspected to be involved in Hiran’s murder. Hiran is believed to have been convinced that he had to go “underground” after February 25 and the officers would help him to do so. “Earlier, they had asked Hiran to take the blame for the February 25 crime. However, he had refused,” said the officer.
As per NIA, after handing over Hiran to the other accused, Waze left and joined his team to conduct a raid at a bar in south Mumbai. The investigation so far shows that Waze left behind his cellphone at his office to prove that he was there all day on March 4, the officer added.
The NIA has also found a CCTV camera footage, in which a person resembling Waze is seen purchasing handkerchiefs from a hawker outside Kalwa station. The agency believes that the handkerchiefs were later found stuffed in Hiran’s mouth when his body was recovered on March 5, the officer said.
The agency is currently interrogating Mane in connection with the murder case and will produce him before the special NIA court on April 28.
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