MUMBAI/THANE: On a day the body of Mansukh Hiren (48), owner of the Scorpio found outside industrialist
’s residence, was found by
in the Reti Bunder creek near Mumbra and opposition leader
levelled charges against assistant inspector Sachin Waze and demanded an NIA probe into the case related to explosives recovered from the car,
home minister Anil Deshmukh said the Anti-Terrorism Squad would now probe the matter. In another development, Deshmukh said the vehicle “did not belong to Hiren but was in his possession”.
The probe, initially being overseen by Waze who belongs to the crime branch’s crime intelligence unit, had been handed over on Tuesday to ACP Nitin Alaknure. The family of Hiren, a Thane resident, had filed a complaint with Naupada police early on Friday saying he had gone missing.
Police sources said there were no injury marks on Hiren’s body but a video depicting its recovery from the creek showed a couple of handkerchiefs being removed from his mouth, which raised questions about whether he might have been gagged.
Demanding an NIA probe, Fadnavis said in the assembly that the case had taken a serious turn after Hiren’s death. “Hiren was an important link in the case,” Fadnavis said and claimed that he had CDRs (call detail records) from 2020 which revealed assistant inspector Waze and Hiren “knew each other and were in touch”.
Fadnavis alleged that when the vehicle with gelatin sticks inside it were found outside the Ambani residence Antilia on Carmichael Road on February 25, Waze reached the spot before the local Gamdevi police. “Later, Waze was appointed investigating officer (IO) in the case. Three days ago, Vaze was removed and the case handed over to the ACP (crime branch),” he said.
Hiren had lodged a complaint with Vikhroli police about the vehicle going missing after he had left it on
Eastern Express Highway
after its steering developed a glitch on February 24. That day, Fadnavis said, Hiren, who was headed to town, took an Ola from the spot where he left the vehicle and went to Crawford Market, where the city police commissionerate is situated. Fadnavis said whom he had gone to meet should be probed. “There are many coincidences in the case which lead to suspicion,” he said.
Fadnavis also said that “not a single vehicle but two vehicles were seen coming from Thane, along the same route, the same day, to the spot (Antilia).”
Waze rubbished all the allegations. He told TOI, “Hiren has a shop in Thane, I may have met him, I don’t remember. But Hiren had lodged a complaint with the Thane police against a few journalists who were allegedly harassing him asking whether he was under zone of suspicion.”
Deshmukh said the state and Mumbai police were capable and the opposition should have faith in the state police.
Hiren’s body was pulled out of the creek with a crane at around 10.30am on Friday. Hiren, who owned an automobile accessories shop in Thane and lived in Vikas Palm Complex, was in his shop nearly the whole day on Thursday, his family said. One of his three sons told police that when he was in his shop, his father got a call at around 8pm from someone. After the call, Hiren told his son he was going to meet “Tawade Sahab in Kandivli” and that he had “called him to Ghodbunder Road”. After hiring a rickshaw, he went away, his son said.
The missing person’s complaint lodged by the family stated that at around 9.30pm, the son went home but his father had not returned. When he tried calling him at around 10.15pm, he found the phone had been switched off and till 1.30am, there was no call or message from Hiren. So the son called his uncle
and told him about the matter. The family then lodged the police complaint after checking with Hiren’s staff and acquaintances.
Sandeep Khambe, a family friend, said, “Hiren was a good swimmer and used to take his kids for swimming in the clubhouse of the society, so it is indigestible that he could have done something like this. Everything looks suspicious in this case.”
Avinash Ambure, DCP (zone-1), Thane, confirmed the body had been identified as that of Hiren and an ADR (accidental death report) had been registered with Mumbra police station.