NIA suspects Mansukh Hiran was smothered to death before being disposed in Mumbra creek
File Photo

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials probing the murder of auto parts dealer Mansukh Hiran and placing of a gelatine sticks-laden SUV near Carmichael Road residence of Industrialist Mukesh Ambani, suspect that Hiran was smothered to death, and his body was later disposed off near a creek in Mumbra on March 05. NIA sources also claimed that it was suspended assistant police inspector Sachin Vaze who had sourced gelatine sticks and later placed them in an SUV.

"We suspect that Hiran was smothered to death and his body was disposed in the Mumbra creek. There were few small bruises on the front side of his face and on the back of his neck. It seems that the bruises occurred during the resistance put up by Hiran. Hiran's mouth was stuffed with three to four handkerchiefs and his face was covered with a cloth. The handkerchiefs were stuffed inside to basically ensure that Hiran's body doesn't float on the surface for few days at least. Also, it appears that more than one person could be involved at the time of murdering Hiran to overpower him and dispose off his body. A team of medical experts is currently examining the post mortem report along with other pieces of evidence and their opinion would help us ascertain the exact cause of death," said an official.

The officials are also probing from where Vaze had sourced the gelatine sticks and who had helped him in sourcing the said explosives.

"The gelatin sticks, which were placed in the SUV, were procured by Vaze. We have CCTV footage which shows the presence of Vaze at the spot when the SUV was parked," sources said.

As a part of the probe into the case, the NIA team is going to collect CCTV footage of the compound of the Mumbai police commissioner's office and surrounding areas, they said, adding that this will establish Vaze's movements and other aspects.

There were some attempts to tamper with the CCTV footage and digital video recorders (DVRs) of the police commissioner's office, but a majority of the footage is available, the sources said.

The probe agency is verifying whether Vaze destroyed any DVR of the Mumbai police commissioner's office and the surrounding area, they said.

Vaze allegedly tried to destroy the CCTV footage and DVRs of Saket society in neighbouring Thane, where he was staying, as well as of a shop making number plates in Thane by throwing them in the water, the sources said.

The NIA on Sunday recovered a laptop, a printer, two hard disks, two vehicle number plates, two DVRs, and two CPUs from the Mithi river here with the help of divers, they said.

Vaze was arrested by the NIA on March 13.

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