Suspended constable Vinayak Shinde was present with Sachin Vaze in a meeting held to eliminate Mansukh Hiran, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), on Tuesday, told a special court while seeking Shinde and his alleged co-accused bookie Naresh Gor’s further custody in the Antilia bomb scare-Mansukh Hiran murder case it claims to be connected.
The duo, who were arrested on March 21, had been remanded by a Thane magistrate to the custody of the ATS, which was then probing the case, till 30 March. On Tuesday, NIA, which took over the case, sought their custody for another 10 days. During investigation, it said it has seized two mobile phones and one iPhone from the duo. Gor, it said, has made a disclosure statement and seven SIM cards and one blank SIM card cover was recovered. The phone that was used to activate the SIM cards was also recovered.
As part of the disclosure, a note was found with 14 phone numbers. Of these, it was also written in the note that five were handed over to Vaze. The word ‘ok’ was written besides these numbers, it said. The agency told the court further that a mobile phone was handed over to Vaze by a witness, whose statement it has recorded and who was a part of the conspiracy to eliminate Hiran. The phone was being used by conspirators to eliminate Hiran, it added. The agency also told the court about the CPU and laptop that divers had recovered from Mithi river in a destructed state as part of the disclosure and that data from these had to be confronted with the accused. Also, it needs to be probed, it said, who the accused contacted for the murder and Call Detail Record and Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR) had to be confronted with them.
“We need to get to the depth of the motive to kill Hiran. We are inching towards the conspiracy part,” the agency told the court. It further said that the role of two other people was found and it needs to know who else is involved in the conspiracy.
The court, while remanding the duo to NIA custody till April 7, stated in its order that there is progress in the investigation, many articles have been recovered and, prima facie, the involvement of the applicant is established and sufficient opportunity must be provided to the investigating officer to dig out the truth. Special judge Prashant R Sitre further said that investigation is at a crucial stage. Considering the nature of the offence, it appears that the accused persons are involved in it.