Updated: April 8, 2021 7:09:42 am
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday claimed that Thane resident Mansukh Hiran was a co-conspirator of suspended assistant inspector Sachin Waze in planting the car near Mukesh Ambani’s Antilia on February 25. The agency also claimed that the other accused in the Ambani terror scare case conspired to eliminate him between March 2 and 3. The Scorpio car found with 20 gelatin sticks and a threat letter was linked to Hiran, the owner of an auto parts shop in Thane. On March 4, he was reported missing and, the next day, his body was found in a creek at Kalwa.
“Mansukh Hiran was a conspirator involved in planting the SUV with gelatin sticks on a public road. He has been eliminated,” said additional solicitor general Anil Singh, while seeking custody of Waze before a special court on Wednesday. The NIA, during the last hearing, had claimed that it was close to finding out the motive behind Hiran’s murder. While the agency did not refer to the motive on Wednesday, it claimed that it suspected that Waze provided the financial aid required for the plan to kill Hiran. Apart from Waze, NIA has named suspended policeman Vinayak Shinde and alleged bookie Naresh Gaur as accused, claiming that they procured and provided SIM cards to Waze. Shinde and Waze are also alleged to have been present at a meeting where Hiran’s murder was planned. The NIA has also found CCTV footage of a meeting between Hiran and Waze on February 17, the day he claimed that his vehicle, subsequently used to plant gelatin sticks, was stolen. The NIA also claims that witnesses have said Waze was trying to convince Hiran to take the blame in the bomb scare incident, which he refused.
Further, NIA claimed that Rs 1.51 crore was found in a private bank linked to a firm floated by Waze, and that he gave Rs 76 lakh to one of his accomplices. The agency said it was probing if this money was also linked to the bomb scare conspiracy and if it was used in any manner to source the gelatin sticks.
Singh also argued that the agency wants to find out why such a plan was formed. “He is a police officer who is well aware of his legal rights, which he is using to dodge the agency. He is not an ordinary person, he has led many investigations,” Singh said.
Waze’s lawyer, Aabad Ponda, did not oppose NIA’s plea seeking extension of his custody. He said Waze was taken to CSMT on Tuesday, wearing handcuffs, and he wanted to bring it to the notice of the court that such treatment should not be meted out to anyone, “certainly not a police officer”.
Special public prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves said while NIA took Waze to multiple places for reconstruction of the crime, handcuffs were only placed as a precautionary measure.
Special Judge Prashant R Sitre sent Waze to further custody till April 9. The court directed NIA to submit a detailed medical report after Waze’s lawyer sought an angiography.
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