Disturbing details of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran’s alleged murder for refusing to implicate himself in the planting of his own SUV near Antilia, the home of businessman Mukesh Ambani, has surfaced. A group of cops, now suspended, eliminated him in cold blood in an operation as though inspired by some Bollywood script. In its 290-page charge sheet, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has disclosed the details of the investigation into the case.
The main players in the SUV, which was deserted, and Hiran’s killing are the 10 prime accused: Sachin H Vaze, Vinayak B Shinde, Hisamuddin Kazi, Sunil D Mane, Pradeep R Sharma (all ex-cops), Naresh R Gor, Santosh A Shelar, Manish V Soni, Anand P Jadhav and Satish T Mothkuri. The NIA has slapped them with charges of murder and terrorism.
After the SUV planting case erupted in a big way and it was transferred to the crack team of the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU), the then Investigating Officer (IO) Vaze pressured Hiran to own up the crime on the promise that the cops would secure him immediate bail.
When Hiran flatly refused, Vaze was worried about the implications. But Hiran was the only person who knew the entire sequence of events but was a weak link that could spill the beans and get all the conspirators caught.
Vaze and Sharma discussed the implications and decided to eliminate Hiran, the NIA charge sheet says. According to the charge sheet, Sharma hired a contract killer Shelar who, along with the other accused, met on 2 March. Hiran’s presence was ensured to identify him before the prospective killers.
The next day, Vaze met Sharma at the office of the NGO of the latter, PS Foundation in Andheri West, and handed over a large bag containing bundles of Rs 500 notes.
Thereafter, Sharma called Shelar to finalise a red-coloured vehicle Chevrolet Tavera. Vaze asked Hiran, oblivious of the ongoing diabolic plot to bump him off, to meet Mane at a particular location in Thane on 4 March.
Mane picked up the Tavera, bought half a dozen handkerchiefs and a hoody, while Vaze hatched out a raid in the Tipsy Bar at Grant Road, to create an alibi that he was far away from the crime scene of Hiran’s murder.
Simultaneously, Vaze lured Hiran out from Thane to Kandivali to meet Mane, who used an alias ‘Inspector Tawde’ on the pretext of transporting Hiran ‘safely’ to another location in a white Volkswagen Polo.
Hiran complied, informing his wife that he was going to meet the so-called Tawde in Kandivali. He travelled by autorickshaw to a place near Suraj Waterpark on Ghodbunder Road and met Mane in the white Polo, around 8:30 PM on 4 March.
By 9:30 PM, Mane reached a spot near the Fountain Hotel where the Tavera was waiting, asked Hiran to hand over his mobile phone, and ordered him to step into the vehicle that would take him to a secure place.
The Tavera was already quite crowded. Hiran was made to sit between Shelar and Jadhav while Mothkuri grabbed his head from the rear seat, and gagged him with the handkerchiefs.
As Hiran struggled for his life, the trio held onto him and strangled the weak link to death on the car seat, ending the potential threat to all enmeshed in the mega-conspiracy.
Then, Shelar asked Soni to drive the Tavera to Kasheli Bridge on Thane Creek where they reached after around 45 min.
Halting the vehicle, the killer trio of Shelar, Jadhav and Mothkuri dragged Hiran’s body, hoisted it up and threw it into the darkness of the Thane Creek below.
The following day, Hiran’s body washed away by the currents was found stuck in the marshlands around a km away from the Kasheli Bridge, creating a fresh hullabaloo barely a week after the SUV planting incident outside Antilia.
In between, the NIA detailed how Vaze and Co used and destroyed various pieces of evidence related to the twin cases, most of it was later either detected or recovered by the sleuths.