Mumbai: The Maha Vikas Aghadi government and the Bharatiya Janata Party found themselves embroiled in a verbal duel on Monday after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the probe in the case of the gelatin sticks-laden vehicle found parked near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence Antilia on February 25.
According to the NIA, it had “received orders from MHA, GoI, for investigation of case FIR 35/2020 registered at PS Gamdevi on February 25. This case relates to the recovery of explosives from a Mahindra Scorpio parked at Carmichael Road, Mumbai. NIA is in the process of re-registering the case.”
However, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has clarified that investigation of Mansukh Hiran death case will remain with the ATS and the case related to the recovery of explosives in a car will be probed by the NIA.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray countered the BJP, saying the Mumbai police were investigating the suicide of Independent MP Mohan Delkar.
Thackeray alleged that there was ‘something fishy’ about the Central agency's involvement. Home Minister Anil Deshmukh also took a jibe at the Centre over the recent development.
Thackeray said “Agencies are not someone's property. Governments come and go, but the official administrative machinery remains the same and one needs to trust it. Everyone knows Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad is probing the case. Governments change but the system doesn't. One needs to believe in the system.’’
Thackeray said, “We are also investigating another matter, that of the suicide of MP Mohan Delkar. The opposition has no guts to speak about it as it knows who calls the shots in Union Territories.”
Deshmukh said, “The ATS was probing the case where a gelatin-laded car was found at Mukesh Ambani's residence but the NIA took over.
“Earlier, Mumbai Police was probing the Sushant Singh Rajput case when it was taken over by the CBI. Surprisingly, they still can't say if it was murder or suicide,” he added.
Earlier, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis said the state government ought to be ashamed of itself for failing to provide protection to Mansukh Hiran.
“From Day 1, I was insisting that Hiran’s life was in danger...the ATS, which has now taken over the probe has filed a case of murder and causing disappearance of evidence. Hiran was a key witness in this investigation,” Fadnavis claimed.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra ATS has assigned 10 teams for the investigation of the case. These teams will be split between Mumbai and Thane and will investigate every lead they have on the case. While Hiran’s wife has refused to consider his death as a suicide, as the point where his mobile phone was supposedly switched on hours after his death was suspicious.
The Maharashtra ATS is trying to piece together the sequence of events after Hiran’s disappearance and retrace every step that the deceased could have taken. The statements of at least 10 people have been recorded in connection to this probe, wherein a case of murder and criminal conspiracy has been registered.
While the doctors have put on hold the cause of Hiran’s death in the post mortem, sources have said that lung failure could be the reason for his death. Meanwhile, police have also said that there were scratches and injuries on his face, chest and body, which are inexplicable. Moreover, the matter of the phone of the deceased being switched on in Vasai after his death, is being probed, after the autopsy report revealed that his body had been in the Retibunder Creek in Kalwa for at least 10 hours.
Hiran’s call data records are also being examined, to ascertain his activity. Police are also probing the allegations by Hiren's wife that he had been called by a police officer named Tawde.
Maharashtra Police had said on March 5 that the corpse of an unknown had been found in Retibunder Creek on Retibunder road in Mumbra west. Later, the corpse was identified as Hiran, the Thane resident whose missing vehicle, bearing 20 gelatin sticks, a threat letter and a Mumbai Indians' bag among other objects, was found parked on Carmichael Road near Antilia, the residence of the industrialist Mukesh Ambani on February 25. Police said prima facie it appears that Hiran died by suicide.
The suspect who parked the car (near Ambani's house) was seen in the CCTV footage but has not been identified as he was maskdc and his head was covered with a hoodie, said the Mumbai police.
The city police has deployed its personnel outside Ambani's house after explosive materials were found.