The accused in the Antilia bomb scare-Mansukh Hiran murder case were on Monday handed copies of statements recorded before the magistrate. Among the statements that forms part of the documents, is a confession statement of accused Manish Soni in which he states that Pradeep Sharma, an accused in the case, waved to his co-accused Santhosh Shelar from a distance, when they met two months after the murder.
In the statement, Soni narrates the sequence of events immediately before the murder of auto parts dealer Hiran, whose body was found in a Thane creek on March 5 last year. He states that on March 4, Satish Shelar asked him to meet at 3 pm for some work and told him that Anand Jadhav arranged a vehicle for the work. Both Shelar and Jadhav are accused too. On Western Express Highway, Jadhav, Shelar, Soni and Satish Mothkuri (also an accused) drove towards Ghodbunder road. At around 9.30 pm, his statement reads, a white colour car arrived. He states that Shelar got down from their car and received a person who got down from a bike.
The statement read, “At this time I was sitting in the driving seat. Initially Santosh Shelar was sitting along with me on the front seat but after he had received that person, the person was made to sit in the middle. Anand Jadhav was on the right side and Shelar was on the left side. On the backside was Satish Mothkuri…Shelar told me to take the vehicle a bit far and park it at the left side of the road… When I looked in the rear mirror, Tani (Satish Mothkuri) covered the mouth and nose of the person with a handkerchief. At the same time, Shelar and Jadhav held him. He was unconscious and seemed to be dead.”
Soni continues that Shelar told him to take the vehicle to Thane and later to Bhiwandi. Then he asked him to stop near a creek and they dumped the body there. Soni says they then went for dinner, but he could not eat as he thought the three would kill him. On March 6, he saw the person’s photo in the newspaper and learnt that it was Hiran.
In another part of his statement, Soni says Shelar had arranged for his trip to Dubai for 15 days between Apr 20 and May 8. After returning he was quarantined in a hotel and Shelar paid the expenses during this time too. On May 9, Shelar came to meet him at the hotel and again met him on May 11, 2021. Shelar was standing on the road and in the meantime Pradeep Sharma was crossing the road. He waved to Shelar. Two days later, he said he was going to his hotel after taking tea and Sharma was crossing with his car. Sharma, he said, stopped his car to ask if Shelar had come to his hotel.