Updated: March 8, 2021 8:18:59 am
Two days after the body of Mansukh Hiren — the owner of the vehicle found outside the residence of Mukesh Ambani with gelatin sticks and a threat letter — was recovered from a creek in Thane, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad on Sunday registered a case of murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence against an unknown person.
The case was registered on the complaint of Hiren’s wife Vimla.
A missing report had earlier been lodged at Naupada police station, and as his body was found in a creek near Mumbra, an accidental death report was filed at Mumbra police station in Thane.
Officials said that on the basis of an order issued by the Maharashtra Home Department, the case related to Hiren’s death was transferred to the ATS. Accordingly, all corresponding documents were taken over by the ATS from Mumbra police station. The ATS is currently investigating the gelatin found outside Ambani’s house as well as Hiren’s death.
“Hiren was the only witness or lead in the car case and we have lost him too. We are looking for other possible leads,” said an investigating officer.
Family members of Hiren had said that he got a call around 8 pm on Thursday. He was in his car decor shop in Thane then. The caller, who identified himself as Tawde, reportedly posed as an investigator in the gelatin sticks case.
His son Meet was at the shop when Hiren got the call, the police said. Hiren told his son that he was going to Ghodbunder area in Thane to meet a Crime Branch official from Kandivali unit, and he left in an auto-rickshaw.
With his phone switched off since 10.30 pm on Thursday, and Hiren missing till Friday morning, his family members filed a missing report at Naupada police station. Meanwhile, his body was found in the creek at Thane. The police took Meet to the spot, and he identified him.
Hiren’s elder brother Vinod had told The Indian Express that it was a case of murder. “He knew swimming well and he would not end his life by jumping into a creek,” he said.
The body was found with a cloth mask around his mouth, and the mouth was stuffed with pieces of cloth, the police said.
While doctors at Chhatrapati Shivaji hospital in Kalwa, who conducted post-mortem, reserved their opinion on the cause of death, they said there was no external injury on the body.
The case was officially handed over to the ATS on Saturday, a day after officials visited the family at their residence in Thane.
“They were in the house at 11 am and an inquiry went on for more than four hours, where the officials took statements of Vimla, Meet and other family members,” said a source.
ATS officials then took Meet to the ATS office and registered a case under sections of murder, criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and common intention. The case is being probed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police-rank official.
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