Mumbai Police outside Antilla after explosives found in an abandoned car in the vicinity.
Mumbai Police outside Antilla after explosives found in an abandoned car in the vicinity.
Photo: Bhushan Koyande

Mumbai: Noisy scenes were witnessed in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Friday after the ruling and opposition members sparred over the death of the prime witness, Hiren Mansukh, in the incident wherein a gelatin stick-laden Scorpio had been found parked near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence Antilia last month.

Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis demanded an inquiry by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and this sparked off a ruckus in the assembly. Fadnavis was supported by other BJP legislators, who began sloganeering, demanding an NIA probe into the Antilia episode and the death of the prime witness.

Fadnavis said, “The prime witness in the case is dead. I had demanded that he be given protection, as we were apprehending a threat to his life. What has happened is quite suspicious and serious. There are strange coincidences. We demand an NIA investigation.”

“Now after Hiren’s suicide, the suspicion intensifies. I demand an NIA probe in the matter,” said Fadnavis.

According to Fadnavis, the owner of the car was at Mumbai’s Crawford market for shopping but his car was stolen. “Assistant Police Inspector (API) Sachin Vaze, who found the car, and the owner of the car, Hiren, were in talks. He was from Thane and this car also came from Thane. All this is suspicious, so the owner of the car should have been given protection,” he said.

However, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of the NCP, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anil Parab and Congress legislator Nana Patole rejected the demand for an NIA probe. Deshmukh said tauntingly, he could understand Fadnavis’s anger against Vaze as he was the officer who had arrested Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in the Anvay Naik suicide case and Goswami was kept in judicial custody for seven days.

Deshmukh further said that there was no need for an NIA probe as the Maharashtra, Mumbai and Thane Police were capable of conducting the investigation.

Parab reminded Fadnavis that as home minister, he had showered praise on Mumbai Police. Patole said the Bhima-Koregaon case had been taken over by the NIA without the Centre keeping the state government in the loop.

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