In the latest turn of events, NIA has found that the explosive laden SUV found near Ambani house was not stolen, as alleged by Mansukh Hiren, but parked at Sachin Vaze’s housing society in Thane, reports TOI.
On 25 February, a green SUV was found about 600 metres away from industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house with 20 gelatin sticks and a hand-written letter. The car was parked at Vaze’s housing society for a week before this.
The car was traced to Mansukh Hiren, a Thane-based automobile spare parts businessman. In November 2020, Hiren had purportedly given the SUV to Sachin Vaze, an old client, who returned the car back on 5 February 2021 owing to a technical snag in the steering.
In his statement to the police, Hiren claimed that he was forced to park the car after the “steering gets jammed” at the Eastern Express Highway in Vikhroli from where it was stolen on 18 February. On 5 March, Hiren was found dead after being “missing” for five hours. His wife alleged that Vaze had killed Hiren.
NIA had arrested Vaze on 13 March after more than 12 hours of questioning. NIA is now reportedly probing if Vaze was present at the spot near Ambani’s house where the explosive-laden Scorpio was abandoned on the night of the incident.
NIA also suspects that the man in the PPE kit near the car as seen in the CCTV footage might be Vaze, and is verifying his alibis.
The NIA probe shows that the SUV wasn’t stolen but was opened with a key, driven, and parked it in Vaze’s housing society in Saket, Thane. When the NIA went to recover the CCTV footage from the housing society’s digital video recorder, it was found damaged.
As part of the Crime Intelligence Unit that was probing the case, Vaze collected the footage from the housing society on 2 March in the name of the investigation to ensure that it doesn’t reach the hands of other investigative agencies.
Reportedly, Vaze visited a shop that makes number plates and took away all the digital evidence containing the details of the visitors to the housing society, and the register containing orders received. This is where a fake name plate, a scooter’s, was allegedly installed on the car.
This shop is located near Hiren’s spare parts shop.
On 18 February, when Hiren had parked the car in at the Eastern Express Highway in Vikhroli, he took an Ola cab. The cab driver was also quizzed by the investigating agencies and it was revealed that Hiren had initially booked the cab to go to Crawford Market, but changed the destination to CST to meet someone he was referring to as “sir”.
NIA suspects that “sir” was someone who collected the car keys from Hiren on Vaze’s behalf and then drove and parked the car near Vaze’s house.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra government, under immense pressure, suspended Sachin Vaze on Monday.
TOI report quotes sources as saying that Vaze has admitted his role in the Ambani bomb threat case but not disclosed the motive.
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