The investigation into the recovery of explosives from a car parked near Mukesh Ambani’s residence Antilia has been handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), leading to politicking in the state with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asking if the system was for selective cases.
The NIA is now in the process of re-registering the case which was so far being probed by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
A vehicle, laden with twenty gelatin sticks, had been found parked near Ambani's residence, Antilia, triggering a bomb scare on Thursday, 25 February.
POLITICS PEAKS IN MAHARASHTRA OVER OVER NIA PROBE
Questioning the move and accusing the Centre of using central agencies to defame the Maharashtra government and the police, Thackeray asked why there weren’t such demands by the Opposition in the death of of Silvassa MP Mohan Delkar.
“The ATS is probing Mansukh Hiren's case. The system is not just for one person. The previous government had the same system in place. We fully trust the system and hence the ATS is on the case. But despite that if the Centre hands over the case to NIA, it means something is fishy. We won't give up till we expose it,” Maharashtra CM Thackeray said, while addressing the media.
“We are also investigating Silvassa MP Mohan Delkar’s suicide. The Opposition didn’t speak on that as Silvassa falls under a Union Territory. They are plotting to defame Maharashtra by projecting that there is no system here and everything is dependent on the Centre,” he said, as quoted by ANI.
Independent MP from Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Delkar, was found dead at a hotel in Mumbai last month.
Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that the Centre showed unnecessary hurry while handing over the probe to NIA.
“The Antilia bomb scare matter has been handed over to the NIA. The case related to Mansukh Hiren’s death, who was the owner of the car will be probed by the ATS. The Centre hurried while handing over the case to the NIA, which wasn’t necessary,” Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said.
“Earlier too, the case of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death was handed over to a central agency, but what was the outcome? The Maharashtra and Mumbai police are more than capable of conducting these investigation,” Deshmukh added.
State Congress chief Nana Patole too accused the Centre of trying to politicise the matter.
“Handling the case over to the NIA is nothing but politics. The Centre wants to defame the Maharashtra government. They did so in Sushant Singh Rajput’s case as well,” he said.
Reacting to the development and the comments of the state ministers, BJP leader and former CM Devendra Fadnavis said, “The cases of explosives being found outside Ambani’s house and the death of Mansukh Hiren are related to each other. We have been asking for an NIA pobe in Mansukh’s case as well. In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput, it was the Supreme Court that ordered for the case to be handed over to the CBI and not the central government.”
THE CASE SO FAR
As per a Mumbai Police official, the suspect who parked the car near Ambani’s house was seen in a CCTV footage clad in a mask and a hoodie.
The police had said that the SUV was stolen and the owner was a resident of Vikhroli in Mumbai. As per the police official, there was another car – a white Innova – tailing the green Scorpio, which was also investigated.
According to The Quint’s sources, CCTV surveillance had revealed that the car in question came from Thane towards Mumbai.
A purported threat note in Hindi but typed in broken and erroneous English, addressed to "Nita Bhabhi aur Mukesh bhyya aur femili," ominously warning to kill the family was also retrieved from the car.
It further cautioned the Ambanis that the next time "the stuff would come connected, in an original vehicle", and signed off with a "Gud nit".
The Mumbai Police, however, did not confirm or denied the authenticity of the note retrieved from the car.
DEATH OF MANSUKH HIREN
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has filed a murder case against unidentified people, in connection with the death of Mansukh Hiren, the man linked to the explosives-laden vehicle.
As per PTI, formal orders to hand over the investigation into Hiren’s death to the ATS were issued on Saturday, 6 March, night.
Forty-five-year-old Mansukh Hiren was found dead on the banks of a creek along near Mumbai on Friday, 5 March.
PTI has cited an official as saying that the ATS has filed the case on the order of the state home department under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including murder, disappearance of evidence, and a criminal conspiracy.
(With inputs from PTI)