Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday said that the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad has filed a murder case in connection with the death of Mansukh Hiren, the reported owner of the explosives-laden car found outside Reliance Industries chairperson Mukesh Ambani’s residence in Mumbai last month.
The case filed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad against unidentified people includes charges under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of the Indian Penal Code. It was filed after the 45-year-old’s wife Vimala Hiren alleged that he had been killed.
Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency took over the inquiry into the bomb threat, PTI reported, quoting the agency’s spokesperson.
Deshmukh informed the state Assembly that the Anti-Terrorism Squad will take lawful action against the accused in the case.
Twenty gelatin sticks were recovered from the black Scorpio found less than two kilometres away from Ambani’s multi-storey home Antilia on February 25. The police had said that the gelatin recovered from the car was the commercial type, which is used in mining and construction.
The police then located Hiren, who was the SUV’s registered owner. He told the police that his car broke down on February 16, after which he parked it on the Mulund-Airoli Link Road. He alleged that the vehicle was stolen from there.
However, the Maharashtra home minister said the car belonged to another man named Sam Muteb and Hiren had done the vehicle’s interiors, NDTV reported. Deshmukh added that Hiren, a spare car parts dealer, did not return the vehicle to Muteb because he had not been paid for his work.
Hiren’s body was recovered from a creek near Mumbai last week. The police said that he died by suicide. The Opposition said that Hiren’s death was suspicious and demanded that the case be transferred to the National Investigation Agency.
Days before his death, Hiren had written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deshmukh and the Mumbai police chief, alleging harassment by police officials and journalists, NDTV reported. He had demanded security and legal action.
Something ‘fishy’ about NIA taking over inquiry: Uddhav Thackeray
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that there was something “fishy” about the NIA taking over the investigation into the bomb threat, reported India Today.
“If [the] Centre is planning on taking over the case, there is something fishy about it. We are also investigating another matter...the suicide of MP Mohan Delkar,” Thackeray said. “The Opposition [the Bharatiya Janata Party] has no guts to speak about it as they know who calls the shots in Union Territories.”
Delkar, an MP from Dadra and Nagar Haveli, was found dead in a Mumbai hotel on February 22. The Mumbai Police said that a suicide note was found at the spot, but there’s been no confirmation that Delkar died by suicide.
On the bomb threat, the chief minister said that the state Anti-Terrorism Squad was already investigating the case. “Agencies are not someone’s property,” he said. “Governments change but the system doesn’t. One needs to believe in the system.”
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh also took a dig at the Centre over the transfer of the case, reported ANI. “ATS [Anti-Terrorism Squad] was probing the case where gelatin-laded car was found out Mukesh Ambani’s residence but NIA took over,” he said. “Earlier Mumbai Police was probing Sushant Singh Rajput case when it was taken over by CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation. Surprising that they still can’t say if it was murder or suicide.”
Deshmukh clarified that the Anti-Terrorism Squad will alone investigate the death of the reported owner of the explosives-laden car.