Raising questions over Maharashtra ATS' probe into the death of Mansukh Hiren, former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday alleged that there is a 'deep connection' between Hiren's death and the Antilia bomb scare. Elaborating on the details, Fadnavis pointed out non-suspended Mumbai Police API Sachin Vaze's involvement in both cases and demanded both cases to be transferred to the NIA. While the NIA is currently probing the bomb scare at Mukesh Ambani's residence, the death case of Mansukh Hiren is being investigated by the Maharashtra ATS.
Holding the Maharashtra government accountable for the scandal, Fadnavis also claimed that Sachin Vaze and Param Bir Singh are 'small fry' and called for a thorough probe to uncover the 'big shots' involved in the case. Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, moments after the transfer of Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh, Fadnavis detailed the suspicious death case of Mansukh Hiren and traced Sachin Vaze's role in the case.
"This was a planned conspiracy. Mansukh Hiren was only interrogated by Sachin Vaze and no one else. He then prompted Hiren to lodge another complaint against the police force. The day Mansukh Hiren received a phone call and was called at a location where Vaze has been accused of running an extortion racket. The next day Hiren's body was found at the same location. We believe that Mansukh Hiren was murdered that day and his body was thrown into a creek," said Fadnavis and further went on to question Mansukh Hiren's postmortem report.
Claiming that the NIA and ATS are in possession of some audiotapes of Mansukh Hiren, the senior BJP leader said that a thorough investigation by the central agency should be ordered in the case.
"I think this entire conspiracy cannot be helmed by Sachin Vaze only. That is why it should be investigated that who all are a part of this. This is not a failure of the police force but a failure of the government. Despite knowing the past record of the police officer in question, the government has placed him at such a high position which shows that the government was forced to take such a decision," Fadnavis said.
Now-suspended Mumbai Police API Sachin Vaze was arrested by the NIA in connection with the case pertaining to the recovery of a gelatin-laden SUV and a threat letter that was found abandoned near billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani's Mumbai residence on February 25. Days after the incident, the owner of the green Scorpio car in question, identified as Mansukh Hiren, was found dead under mysterious circumstances at the Kalwa creek.
Deceased owner Hiren's wife alleged that her husband's car was allegedly in the possession of API Sachin Vaze since November 2020. After the cop's alleged connection with Mansukh Hiren came to light, the case was transferred out of Mumbai Police's Crime Branch and subsequently to the NIA, with Devendra Fadnavis producing call records (CD-R) to support his claims regarding Vaze.
Vaze was grilled for nearly 12 hours by the NIA on Saturday before being placed under arrest. Previously, a Thane Court refused anticipatory bail in the alleged murder case of Mansukh Hiren and the Antilia bomb scare probe, noting that Mansukh Hiren's wife had named the Mumbai Police officer in the FIR and that there was prima facie evidence against Vaze and hence custodial interrogation was required.