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Owner of the explosive-laden car found outside Antilia was in touch with Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze: Claims Devendra Fadnavis

The car was owned by Mansukh Hiren, who was found dead in a creek in Mumbai today

The leader of the opposition in Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, today made a series of sensational claims related to the Antilia bomb scare while speaking in the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha. Speaking in the assembly, Fadnavis alleged that the owner of the Scorpio car, which was used to plant gelatin sticks and a threat letter outside Mukesh Ambani’s residence in Mumbai, was in touch with a mobile phone number that is registered in the name of Mumbai Police officer and ‘encounter specialist’ Sachin Vaze.

The car was owned by Mansukh Hiren, who had alleged that his car was stolen from Mulund-Airoli link road. Hiren had also filed a police complaint about the missing car. Hiren was found dead in a creek in Mumbai today.

“The person who had lodged a missing complaint of the car that was found outside Ambani’s house had made some calls to a number and had received phone calls from that number. When investigated, the number was found to be registered to Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze. The first conversation between the two took place on June 8. The records show another call was made on July 24. Similarly, many such calls have taken place between the two over the last several months,” Fadnavis said.

Before this, Fadnavis also claimed that there were not one but two cars—one Scorpio and one Innova and claimed that both cars came from Thane and had followed the same route and reached the location. He said that while the Scorpio with the explosives was parked near the residence of Mukesh Ambani, the Innova had moved away. Fadnavis has alleged conspiracy behind the attack against Mukesh Ambani, alleging that it could not be a coincidence that the car was stolen from Thane, the route they followed was also from Thane and the IO investigating the case also lived in Thane.

Fuelling the mystery, Fadnavis further added, “Sachin Vaze was the first police officer to reach the spot and then he was appointed as the Investigation Officer (IO). Three days ago, he was removed as the IO and I fail to understand why he was removed.” Fadnavis asked how Vaze reached the spot before the local police.

The car in question was registered to Mansukh Hiren, who had alleged that his car was stolen after it broke down on the Mulund-Airoli link road on February 16. Hiren had said that when his car broke down, he had decided to park the car on the road-side and take a cab to reach his destination. He told the police that when he returned to fetch the car the next day, it was not there. A police complaint of a missing car was filed by him later.

Speaking about the February 16 incident, Fadnavis said, “The owner of the Scorpio which was found outside Ambani’s house had taken an OLA cab to reach Crawford Market in South Mumbai where he met a person. The identity of the person is crucial to solving this case. Since he took an OLA, it could be retrieved who his driver was and he can be questioned if he has seen the person whom Hiren met.”

Citing a series of coincidences in the case, Fadnavis has demanded an NIA inquiry into the matter.

Sachin Vaze denies the claims

Reacting to the claims made by the BJP leader, the police officer denied that he was in touch with Mansukh Hiren. However, he agreed that he knew Hiren, as he is from Thane. “I know Mansukh Hiren as he is also from Thane. I did not meet him recently,” Vaze told India Today. He also claimed that Mansukh Hiren was being harassed. “Mansukh Hiren had actually complained that there are some police officials and reporters who were harassing him. The cops and reporters kept on harassing him. I don’t know anything more,” Sachin Vaze said in an interview with India Today.

He also denied the claim that he was first to reach the spot, saying that several other police officials had reached the spot where the SUV was parked before him.

Accused of custodial death, Sachin Vaze was reinstated by Maha Vikas Aghadi government to probe TRP case against Republic TV

It is pertinent to note that Vaze is the same police officer who was reinstated by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government last year and was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the investigation into the TRP manipulation case against the Republic TV.

Vaze was embroiled in the custodial death case of a 27-year-old software engineer named Khwaja Yunus, who was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch-CID on December 25, 2002, under the now-repealed Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Yunus was arrested along with three others in connection with a bomb blast that took place in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar on January 7, 2003. Yunus was seen alive last on January 6, when reportedly he was stripped and assaulted by the police, according to the other accused in the case. The police, in its defence, claimed that Yunus had escaped from a police jeep near Lonavala while being taken to Aurangabad for investigation.

Mansukh Hiren, owner of the car with bombs outside Antilia, found dead

Minutes after Fadnavis made shocking revelations in the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha assembly, reports of Mansukh Hiren’s death surfaced in the media. Mansukh Hiren allegedly committed suicide by jumping into Kalwa Creek.

Mumbai Police had said earlier that the car was stolen. According to the police, the act was committed by seasoned criminals and was well planned. The police had said, “The suspect who parked the car near Mukesh Ambani’s house was seen in CCTV footage but has not been identified as he was wearing a face mask and his head was covered by a hoodie.”

“The car was stolen from Mumbai’s Vikhroli area sometime back, its chassis number was damaged a bit but police managed to identify its real owner,” they added.

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