Intensifying the mystery of an explosive-laden car found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's Mumbai home, the man who had custody of the SUV Scorpio, Mansukh Hiren, was found dead in a creek near Mumbai on Friday, 5 March, ANI reported quoting Thane Police.
Police are suspecting that he may have died by suicide by jumping into the creek. A case of accidental death has been registered.
Taking it away from the Mumbai Police, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has transferred the case to the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) .
The Mumbai Police, on 25 February, had registered an FIR and launched a massive manhunt to track the two persons who abandoned an SUV with 20 gelatin sticks and a letter near the landmark Antilia building, the home of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani.
WHAT HAPPENED ON FRIDAY?
The family had filed a missing complaint at Naupada Police station on Friday morning, as Mansukh had been missing since Thursday night. His body was found at Kalwa creek around 10.25 am on Friday and a case was registered under the jurisdiction of Mumbra police station.
The news of Mansukh’s death comes just after few hours of Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis demanding an NIA probe into the case in the Maharashtra Assembly on Friday. The leader alleged that there could be some relation between the owner of the stolen car and Mumbai Crime Branch Investigation Officer Sachin Vaze, who had been in-charge of investigating the case but was removed a few days ago.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in the state legislative Assembly said that the owner of the car was Sam Muten, who had given it to Mansukh Hiren for maintenance of its interior.
“Hiren had kept the car in his custody when Sam didn't pay for it,” he said, according to ANI.
Speaking about the death of Mansukh, he said, “The cause of death will be ascertained through postmortem. It will be done by a technical team. We have given the responsibility of this investigation to ATS.”
‘HE WENT TO MEET A CRIME BRANCH OFFICER,’ ALLEGES MANSUKH HIREN’S WIFE
Speaking to the media, Vimala Hiren, Mansukh’s wife, said that he left home after receiving a call from a crime branch officer from Kandivali.
“He (Mansukh Hiren) received a call from a crime branch officer called Tawde asking him to meet at the Ghodbunder Road Police Station. His phone was switched off as soon as he left from home and we were unable to contact him after that.”Vimala Hiren, Mansukh’s wife
Hiren’s wife has also alleged that the Naupada Police refused to file an FIR initially. “When we went to the Naupada Police Station, the cops refused to file a missing persons FIR. It was only at 2 am that a complaint was registered,” she said.
THE CASE SO FAR
As per the 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.
The car had stopped at Haji Ali Junction for 10 minutes at 12:20 am on 24 February, Wednesday night. Then, around 1 am late that night, the car reached Carmichael Road, but the driver did not get off the car for the next two hours.
After this, at around 3 am in the morning, the driver got down and went towards Pedder Road.
After 12 hours, around 3 pm on Thursday, the local police got information about this suspicious vehicle.
After the incident, a ‘Jaish-ul-Hind’ connection surfaced in the matter which the Mumbai Police has denied.
(If you feel suicidal or know someone in distress, please reach out to them with kindness and call these numbers of local emergency services, helplines, and mental health NGOs)