NIA takes over probe into Mansukh Hiran’s death

He owned gelatine-laden SUV found near Ambani home

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday transferred the probe into the mysterious death of Thane resident Mansukh Hiran to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The case is currently being investigated by Maharashtra police.

Hiran was the last occupant of the SUV, with gelatine sticks, that was found near Antilia, the home of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, on February 25. The NIA had earlier arrested police officer Sachin Vaze for planting the explosives laden Scorpio near Antilia.

Mr. Vaze, an assistant police inspector (API) with the Crime Branch of Mumbai Police was arrested on March 13 under various charges of forgery, criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy and Explosives Act.

An NIA spokesperson said the MHA has notified the transfer of investigation to NIA and the case will soon be re-registered by the agency.

The explosives case was transferred to NIA on March 8 from the Maharashtra police.

The Mumbai Crime Branch officer who is a former member of the Shiv Sena, in his previous stint as a police officer has been accused of custodial killing. He was under suspension since 2004 and was reinstated in June 2020 by the Maharashtra government.

20 pieces of unassembled gelatin sticks were found in the SUV.

The NIA had on March 16 recovered a black colour Mercedes Benz used by Mr. Vaze. From the car, the number plate of the abandoned SUV, more than ₹5 lakhs, a note counting machine and some clothes were recovered.

Hiran’s wife Vimla had told the Maharashtra police that her husband was in touch with Mr. Vaze and it was the latter who was using the vehicle that was found near Ambani mansion on February 25.

Hiren had told the police that the SUV was stolen from Airoli-Mulund Bridge on February 18.

According to Thane Police, Hiran, who was in vehicle spare business, left his shop around 8.30 p.m. on March 4 in an autorickshaw and since then his phone was switched off. His family then lodged missing person complaint. His body was fished out from the Thane creek area on March 5.

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