June 16, 2021 3:04:21 am
Two more persons have been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Ambani terror scare and Mansukh Hiran’s murder case on Saturday.
Santosh Shelar and Anand Jadhav are believed to have been linked with the murder of Hiran, a car accessories shopowner based in Thane, whose Scorpio was found parked with gelatin sticks outside the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani on February 25. They were produced before the court on Saturday and remanded in NIA custody till June 21.
Shelar is believed to be known to a former “encounter specialist” who was also questioned in the case earlier by NIA. A history-sheeter, he has 19 cases registered against him, said NIA.
This takes the total number of arrests in the case to seven. There are four policemen among them, including Sachin Waze, who has been dismissed from the Mumbai Police.
An NIA officer said, “The two accused were arrested on Saturday. We are probing their roles in connection to Hiran’s murder. We are also checking if they were involved in placing gelatin sticks in the car parked outside the Ambani residence on February 25.”
Jadhav, who worked for Shelar, had left Mumbai and was arrested from Latur, the officer said. “We suspect both Shelar and Jadhav were present in the Tavera car in which Hiran was murdered.”
As per the chronology of events leading to Hiran’s death charted by NIA, Hiran was picked up by arrested inspector Sunil Mane and Waze from outside his Thane residence on March 4, the day he was reported missing.
Waze is believed to have told him he would need to go “underground” for a few days after Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, told the House that Hiran knew Waze, who was then investigating the Ambani terror scare case.
Waze told Hiran that he would help him go underground till the time the controversy blew over.
Hiran was then handed over to Shelar and Jadhav who picked him up in their red Tavera. Hiran’s body was found floating in the Mumbra creek on March 5. The Tavera was seized by the NIA from the western suburbs last month.
A source said that they believe three others were present in the Tavera in which Hiran is believed to have been rendered unconscious. His body was then dumped in the Mumbra creek with his mouth gagged with handkerchiefs and a mask to ensure that water did not enter the body.
However, on account of low tide the next day, the body floated to the surface, following which an accidental death report was lodged by the local police.
The state Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), however, later registered a murder case and eventually the probe was taken over by the NIA. The NIA has clubbed the probes into Ambani terror scare case and Hiran’s murder as they are linked.
The central agency has said that the vehicle had been placed outside the Ambani residence by Waze and others. Besides Waze and Mane, former police officers Riyaz Kazi and Vinayak Shinde as well as bookie Naresh Gor have been arrested in the case.
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