In a major breakthrough in the Antillia bomb scare case and the Mansukh Hiren murder case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday, 17 June, arrested former Mumbai Police encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma.
The federal agency on Thursday also arrested two more men in connection with the Hiren murder case — Satish Mothukari and Manish Soni. Santosh Shelar, and Anand Jadhav were also arrested as suspects in the case on Tuesday, 15 June, and have been remanded to custody till Monday, 21 June.
All three – Sharma, Mothukari, and Soni – were presented before a special court and were remanded to NIA custody till 28 June.
Why is Pradeep Sharma on the NIA Radar?
Sharma is regarded as former Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze’s mentor and has been questioned twice by the NIA.
However, after the arrest of Shelar and Jadhav on Tuesday, where Shelar mentioned Sharma in his statement, the NIA started tightening the noose on Pradeep Sharma.
According to NIA, Sharma is a prime suspect along with Vaze in the Mansukh Hiren murder case and have alleged that the red colour SUV parked outside the Ambani residence was provided by him. Another clue that pointed towards Sharma is the last location of Sachin Vaze’s mobile, which was traced near Sharma’s residence.
The agency told the special court that Mothukari and Soni along with Shelar and Jadhav, had smothered Hiren in a red Tavera car on Ghodbunder Road in Thane and dumped his body in a creek near Mumbra, at the behest of Vaze and Sharma.
On Thursday, the NIA raided Sharma’s house in Andheri and seized a printer, computer, and a laptop. They also recovered an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
“The NIA conducted a raid at his residence located in JB Nagar in Mumbai’s Andheri (West) around 6 am and the operation continued for several hours. The officials recovered some incriminating documents from his house,” reported PTI, quoting a NIA official.
Where Has the NIA Investigation Reached So Far?
Sharma is the fifth police officer to be arrested by the NIA. The NIA arrested Sachin Vaze on 13 March and claimed that he was the mastermind behind the Ambani explosives scare and the Hiren murder case.
The NIA has also arrested API Riyaz Qazi, Sunil Mane, former constable Vinayak Shinde and cricket bookie Naresh Gore.
Antilia Bomb Scare Case
On 25 February, a SUV containing 20 gelatin sticks, was found parked outside Mukesh Ambani’s residence, Antilia, in Mumbai. The local police were informed of the unattended vehicle by Ambani’s security team.
Mansukh Hiren – an auto parts dealer who had claimed the SUV used in the bomb scare was stolen from him – was found dead in a creek in Thane on 5 March, just a few days after the SUV was detected.
The bomb squad reportedly after examining the vehicle confirmed that the explosive gelatin sticks were found inside the car and that it was not an assembled explosive device.