NIA to question DCP-rank officer in Hiran murder case
Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will question a deputy commissioner of police (DCP)-rank officer of the Mumbai Crime Branch who allegedly visited the crime intelligence unit (CIU) office on March 3, when Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran – whose body was found from a Mumbra creek – was present at then CIU chief Sachin Vaze’s office.
Vaze was arrested by NIA on March 13 for allegedly planting a vehicle with 20 loose gelatin sticks and a threat letter near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house Antilia in February. Hiran was linked to the vehicle.
“The agency wanted to verify certain details with all the people concerned in the case who were present at CIU office when Hiran had met Vaze. The agency will verify details and examine the facts,” an NIA officer said on Tuesday on condition of anonymity.
However, a senior Mumbai Police officer contended that the DCP in question visited the CIU office for some other work, and was not part of the conversation between Vaze and Hiran.
NIA has so far recorded the statements of around 40 people and further investigations are on in the Antilia explosives scare, as well as Hiran’s death case, added the NIA officer.
On Monday at 11.40pm, a group of eight to 10 NIA officers – while recreating the crime scene in the Hiran death case – took Vaze to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT, former Victoria Terminus) after they found during investigation that the suspended cop had taken a train from there to Kalwa station on March 4, the day Hiran went missing. A team from Pune’s Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CSFL) was also present when the crime scene was recreated, and recorded a video of Vaze walking on platform number 4, from where he’d boarded a train around 7pm on March 4.
Hiran was allegedly murdered on March 4, and his body was found floating in a creek at Retibunder in Mumbra the next day. The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) was investigating the Hiran murder case before it was handed over to NIA.
During its probe, ATS found that Vaze got off at Kalwa railway station and had allegedly contacted Hiran around 8.30pm. They spoke for around 11 minutes, and Vaze allegedly asked him to meet near Ghodbunder Road. However, he requested Hiran to tell his family that he was going to meet an officer named Tawade from Kandivli police station.
On Monday, NIA officers also took Vaze to Kalwa railway station, where he was made to walk from the platform to the station’s exit. The agency has also taken custody of the CCTV footage of CSMT and Kalwa station, said the officer cited above.
NIA seized a high-end motorcycle linked to the case from Daman on Monday. A Benelli DSK TNT 600GT, it was registered in Thane in the name of a woman suspected to be close to Vaze. She was seen in a CCTV grab while entering a five-star hotel at south Mumbai where Vaze was staying between February 16 and February 20.