The investigation into the bomb threat against industrialist Mukesh Ambani got murkier, after a resident in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, claimed that one of the number plates recovered from a river on Monday belonged to his van, which was stolen last year, PTI reported on Tuesday.
Police said that Vijay Nade, a clerk with the social justice department in Jalna, approached the City Chowk police station in Aurangabad on Monday after he started getting calls from journalists about the number plate of his vehicle.
The National Investigation Agency is probing the the recovery of an explosives-laden car found outside the south Mumbai residence of Ambani last month and the subsequent murder of businessman Mansukh Hiren, the purported owner of that vehicle.
On Monday, the investigators of the central agency recovered a digital video recorder, a laptop, central processing units, and two number plates allegedly belonging to suspended police officer Sachin Vaze, the prime suspect in the case. The contents were found in the Mitthi River in East Mumbai.
A police official told PTI that one of the number plates dumped into the river belonged to Nade’s vehicle, which was stolen from Aurangabad in November. He had also lodged a case of theft at the City Chowk police station, the official said.
Nade told PTI that at the time of lodging the complaint, he submitted all documents and related evidence , including CCTV footage, to the police. “But they were not able to trace the vehicle,” he said. “Suddenly, on Monday, I got information from journalists about the number plate of my vehicle recovered from the Mithi river.”
Aurangabad City Chowk police station’s Senior Inspector Sambhaji Powar confirmed that a first information report had been filed for vehicle theft based on Nade’s complaint, but added that the National Investigation agency had not enquired about the matter yet.
“So far, there is no communication from the probe agency but we will provide all assistance to them in the case,” Powar told PTI.
Vaze was arrested by the NIA on March 13 after being questioned about his alleged links with auto parts dealer Hiren, the reported owner of the SUV found outside Ambani’s house, who was found dead near Mumbai on March 5.
Hiren’s wife had alleged that Vaze 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.
The NIA on Monday said that Vaze, during interrogation, had willingly disclosed the place – the Mitthi River – where he threw the material used in the crime.
The agency said that the items recovered were identified by their owners or custodians, adding that Vaze had allegedly taken the items from them illegally. “Also, the laptop and printer recovered was used by Sachin Vaze in his office,” it said. “A visible effort was made by the accused to destroy the same as hammer marks are present on them.”