Antilia scare: Special NIA court denies bail to Sunil Mane | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Antilia scare: Special NIA court denies bail to Sunil Mane

ByRutuja Gaidhani, Mumbai
Dec 16, 2023 08:40 AM IST

Dismissed police inspector Sunil Mane's bail plea has been rejected by a special NIA court in relation to the murder of Mansukh Hiran, the owner of the SUV found with explosives outside Mukesh Ambani's residence. The court stated that there was enough evidence to show Mane's involvement in the crime. Mane is accused of posing as another police inspector and handing Hiran over to four killers. The NIA claims that Mane was part of a conspiracy orchestrated by dismissed officer Sachin Waze.

A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Friday rejected the bail plea filed by dismissed police inspector Sunil Mane, stating that there was enough evidence on record to show his involvement in the murder of Thane-based trader Mansukh Hiran. Hiran owned the SUV that was found with explosives outside Antilia, the south Mumbai residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani.

Mumbai, India - April 23, 2021: Mumbai Police Inspector Sunil Mane, arrested in the Mansukh Hiren murder case. (HT Photo) (Hindustan Times)
Mumbai, India - April 23, 2021: Mumbai Police Inspector Sunil Mane, arrested in the Mansukh Hiren murder case. (HT Photo) (Hindustan Times)

“At this juncture, the criminal act of planting explosives in the Scorpio, and the murder of Mansukh Hiran cannot be segregated. It is a well-planned act involving criminal conspiracy with intent to strike terror in the minds of common people. In such circumstances, the application is denied of merit,” special judge AM Patil said in his order.

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The court further said the applicant (Mane) falsely posed as inspector Tawde and identified Hiran in the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) office for the purpose of abduction and murder as per the instruction of dismissed Mumbai police officer Sachin Waze, who at the relevant time headed CIU. There was CCTV footage to show the movement of Hiran, who then met the applicant, and the applicant handed him over to four accused, the court added.

According to the prosecution, on February 25, 2021, a Mahindra Scorpio was found abandoned near Antilia with 20 lose gelatine sticks kept in a backpack and a note threatening the members of the Ambani family. On March 5, 2021, the body of Hiran was found in a creek near Mumbra.

According to NIA, Waze had planted the explosives-laden vehicle. The agency claimed that Waze, who knew the vehicle owner long before the incident, and others tried to persuade Hiran to take the blame and assured him to bail him out at the earliest. They, however, decided to kill him after the 48-year-old refused to do it.

According to the chargesheet filed by NIA, Waze allegedly paid a large amount of money to former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma to get Hiran killed and Sharma then arranged four persons to get the job done.

Mane, according to NIA, was part of the conspiracy hatched by Waze and others, and accordingly called Hiran to meet him at Ghodbundar Road in the evening of March 4, 2021. When the victim turned up, he allegedly handed him over to the four killers arranged by Sharma. The quartet smothered the Thane resident to death in a four-wheeler and dumped his body in the creek, the agency said.

On March 8, NIA took over the probe in three separate FIRs registered in connection with alleged theft of the SUV, planting of explosives-laden vehicle, and the murder of its owner.

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