The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is likely to take over the probe of the death of Mumbai-based businessman Mansukh Hiren, whose dead body was found in a creek in Thane here, sources said.
On March 3, the NIA has taken over the probe of the explosive laden SUV found outside the residence of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani’s house Antilia in Mumbai with 20 gelatin sticks and a threat note on February 25.
The anti-terror probe agency arrested Mumbai police official Sachin Vaze on March 13. He was sent to NIA custody till March 25.
An NIA source said that the anti-terror probe is likely to over the case soon as there are several threads connected with the two cases.
The NIA also seized the balck colour Mercedes Benz which was used by Vaze on Tuesday night.
Besides the Mercedes, the NIA also seized Rs 5 lakh cash, a currency note counting machine and some clothes.
The case of the death of Hiren is currently being probed by the Maharashtra Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), which is being monitored by its Chief Additional Director General Jai Jeet Singh and Deputy Inspector General Shivdeep Lande.
Dead body of Hiren was found on March 5, a day after he disappeared.
The Maharashtra Police sources said that on the night of March 4, the mobile locations of Hiren changed frequently.
The source claimed that Hiren’s mobile phone last location was the Tungareshwar National Park before it went off.
The source further claimed that in the night of March 4, the last location was of Vasai city and by the time it was switched off.
He further claimed that surprisingly the phone location in next 15 minutes shifted to a spot at the Tungareshwar National Park, which is 14 km away from Vasai city.
The source said that the mobile phone of Hiren is yet to be recovered.
An NIA source related to probe said that Vaze was reportedly present on the spot near Antilia where the explosives-laden SUV was parked on February 25.
Vaze, the controversial API, who was suspended on Monday, used a police car (Toyota Innova) as a getaway vehicle to flee from the spot. The Innova was later seized from the Mumbai Police Commissionerate office.
He said that during preliminary investigation, it was found that while the Innova was driven out of the Commissionerate office on February 25 night of executing the crime, no entries of the vehicle’s movement were logged on the registers.
Another crucial evidence which puts Vaze in the dock is registration of an FIR of the stolen SUV (Mahindra Scorpio) at the Vikhroli police station.
NIA officials suspect that the SUV was never stolen. The vehicle was being used by Vaze and was parked at his residential society.
After the execution of the crime, Vaze has reportedly taken away the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to seize the CCTV footage of the SUV parked at his society. Before registration of an FIR, the Vikhroli police failed to do due diligence on the whereabouts of the SUV, which was reportedly in Vaze’s possession.
API Vaze, who was placed under suspension in 2004 over a case of custodial death, was reinstated in the police department months after the Shiv Sena joined hands with the NCP and the Congress to form a government in Maharshtra in late 2019.
In a relaxed development, BJP ex-MP Kirit Somaiya on Wednesday demanded that the NIA should order a probe into what he alleged the irregular reinstatement of Vaze to the Mumbai Police last year.
Claiming that the Hiren family is scared, he also sought protection from them from the NIA.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at email@example.com and Quaid Najmi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)