‘Owner’ of Antilia car found dead in Thane
Hiren Mansukh, the purported owner of the vehicle that had been found parked near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence last week with explosives inside, was found dead in a creek in neighbouring Thane on Friday, police said.
Mansukh, around 45 years old, had gone missing on Thursday night. The body was found on the banks of the creek along the Mumbra Reti Bunder Road, a senior Thane police official said.
Mansukh’s Scorpio with gelatin sticks inside was found near Antilia, Ambani’s multi-storey residence in South Mumbai, on February 25.
Police had said it had been stolen from Airoli-Mulund Bridge on February 18.
The crime branch of Mumbai police had recorded Mansukh’s statement in the case.
Mansukh, who was engaged in a vehicle spare parts business, had said he had lodged a police complaint after the SUV was stolen.
On Friday, his family members approached Naupada police station in Thane saying he had gone missing. An accidental death report has been registered and a probe is on, the Thane police official said.
Speaking to the reporters in Mumbai, leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Devendra Fadnavis said the death of a prime witness showed that something was fishy. “I reiterate the demand that the case be handed over to the NIA,” the BJP leader said.
Earlier, Fadnavis had raised the issue in the state Assembly, seeking a probe by the National Investigation Agency.
Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh said the deceased was not the real owner of the vehicle. He said the original owner of the SUV had handed it over to Mansukh for some interior work.
Deshmukh said Mansukh’s body bore no injury marks. “The autopsy report was awaited and Maharashtra police were perfectly capable of investigating the case,” he said.
Fadnavis said Deshmukh had not been briefed properly about the case as Mansukh had told the police that he was the owner.
Parliamentary affairs minister Anil Parab said it is not necessary that the person told the truth. “Let the police probe the matter. Give them some time and have faith in them,” Parab said, adding that the NIA was already conducting a parallel probe.