The Maharashtra Anti-terrorism Squad on Sunday said that it has solved the case related to the death of auto parts dealer Mansukh Hiren. Hiren is the owner of the explosives-laden SUV found outside the residence of Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani in Mumbai on February 25.
Shivdeep Lande, the Deputy Inspector General of the ATS, made the announcement in a post on his Facebook account. In a press statement, the agency said that suspended police officer Sachin Vaze was the prime accused in the case, the Hindustan Times reported.
“The hyper-sensitive Mansukh Hiren murder case has been solved,” Lande wrote in a post, carrying his own photo. “I salute my ATS colleagues who worked day and night for the last few days to solve this case. This was one of the toughest cases to crack in my police career.”
However, the Maharashtra ATS is yet to reveal any details on the motive behind Hiren’s alleged murder, or how the crime was committed, the Hindustan Times reported.
Lande’s assertion came a day after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs handed over the inquiry to the National Investigation Agency. On being asked how they were still investigating the case, unidentified ATS officials told The Indian Express that they were yet to receive formal orders of the transfer. “All case details will be transferred to the NIA by Tuesday,” an ATS official told the newspaper.
Meanwhile, the ATS had arrested two men on Saturday night for their alleged involvement in Hiren’s death. The two accused have been identified as Vinayak Shinde and Naresh Dhare. Shinde is a convict in Lakhan Bhaiya fake encounter case, while Dhare is a bookie. A court in Thane on Sunday sent both Shinde and Dhare to the anti-terror squad custody till March 30.
The case so far
Hiren was found dead in a creek near Mumbai on March 5. His wife has alleged that Vaze, the first investigating officer in the bomb scare case, had used the car found outside Ambani’s residence for four months and returned it on February 5. She had also accused Vaze of having a role in her husband’s death.
After the bomb scare case was transferred to the central agency, it had summoned Vaze for questioning. On March 14, the NIA had told a court that prima facie it appears Vaze was driving a car that was seen escorting the SUV with explosives on February 25. The central agency had made the statement while seeking Vaze’s custody. Vaze was arrested on March 13 and remanded to NIA’s custody till March 25.
Earlier this week, the central agency had also seized the black Mercedes that Vaze had allegedly driven, as well as Rs 5 lakh in cash, a note-counting machine and some clothes.