Ambani Bomb Threat: Mystery Deepens As Fadnavis Alleges Mumbai Police Cop Sachin Vaze's Hand In Mansukh Hiren Death
Former Maharashtra chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis has demanded the arrest of Mumbai Police 'encounter specialist' API Sachin Vaze in the Mukesh Ambani bomb threat case, reports India Today.
In his address to the state assembly, Fadnavis claimed that the car laden with explosives found near Ambani residence was in the possession of Vaze for four months prior to the incident.
The car’s legal owner Mansukh Hiren was found dead on 5 March after being “missing” for five hours. The police said that it looked like he committed suicide by jumping into Kalwa creek.
Before his death, Hiren, in his statement to the Mumbai police stated that his car had not been in use for over a year, and that he recently drove the car because he wanted to sell it. According to him, the car broke down and he to park it at the Mulund-Airoli Link Road, but when he returned to the spot the next day, the car was not there.
The police had said the vehicle was stolen from Airoli-Mulund Bridge on 18 February.
Fadnavis said that Hiren’s wife has alleged that Sachin Vaze killed her husband. Reading a statement from her, he said that Vaze had advised Hiren to get himself arrested and that he would get him out on bail safely. However, his wife advised him against it and Hiren sought legal help for anticipatory bail.
Fadnavis further said that the last known location of Mansukh Hiren's phone was near Shiv Sena leader Dhananjay Gawde's office. Both Gawde and Vaze are purportedly close as both were named in an extortion case in 2017.
"Why he is not being arrested under Section 201 of IPC (destroying evidence)? Who is defending him?", he asked in the assembly.
API Vaze’s has long been a notorious name. He was forced to quit the force in 2007 after being suspended along with 14 other policemen over the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus, a suspect in the 2002 Ghatkopar bomb blast case.
He was reportedly forced to resign after requests for his reinstatement were rejected by the Congress government in Maharashtra. However, in June 2020, his suspension was revoked and he was reinstated due to a shortage of police staff at the height of the Covid-19 crisis in Mumbai.
According to Fadnavis, Hiren’s wife suspects Vaze killed her husband. Fadnavis’s revelations reportedly caused a ruckus in the Maharashtra Assembly, forcing an adjournment.
The aforementioned car was a green SUV abandoned on Carmichael Road in Mumbai’s posh Pedder Road area. The SUV had a wrong number plate and was found about 600 metres away from Ambani’s house on 25 February with 20 gelatin sticks and a hand-written letter.
The letter was addressed to Mukesh and Neeta Ambani and called the planted explosives a 'trailer' and threatened to return later with more preparations to assassinate the whole family.
A few days later, an outfit named Jaish-ul-Hind claimed responsibility for the act by posting a message on the social media platform Telegram. Reportedly, the same Jaish Ul Hind had claimed responsibility for the Israel embassy blast in Delhi.
However, the same evening, another letter posted by a group claiming to be the ‘real’ Jaish Ul Hind said it had not posted the first message and that it had nothing to do with the car found near Ambani’s house.
Yesterday, Hiren’s death case was transferred from Maharashtra’s Anti Terrorism Squad to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Fadnavis, while talking to reporters in the Vidhan Bhavan complex, said the state government should be ashamed of itself for failing to provide protection to him.
“I was insisting from day one that Hiren’s life was in danger…the ATS, which has now taken over the probe has filed a case of murder and causing disappearance of evidence. Hiren was a key witness in this investigation,” Fadnavis said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has said the NIA taking over the case suggests something was “fishy”.
Thackeray said governments come and go, but the official administrative machinery remains the same and one needs to trust it. He said, “We had handed over the case of the vehicle laden with explosives and the mysterious death of Mansukh Hiran to the ATS. The NIA taking over the case shows something was fishy.”
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