MUMBAI: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday said it was important for the “image” and “prestige” of the Maharashtra government to uncover the truth behind the mysterious death of Hiren Mansukh, who was said to be the owner of the vehicle with explosives found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani‘s residence.
Mansukh, around 45 years old, was found dead on the banks of a creek along the Mumbra-Reti Bunder road in neighboring Thane on Friday morning, police had said.
Talking to reporters, Raut said the mysterious death of Mansukh, whose Scorpio vehicle was used to keep explosives near Ambani’s residence, was “shocking and unfortunate”.
“It is wrong to politicise his death and put the government in the dock. There are doubts whether Mansukh’s death was a suicide or murder. He was an important witness in the case,” he said.
“The home department should unearth the truth at the earliest. It is important for the prestige and image of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government,” he said.
On Friday, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had announced that the probe into the case has been handed over from Mumbai Crime Branch to the state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
Talking about it, Raut said that the opposition BJP’s demand is to hand over the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
“But it (giving the investigation to NIA) does not mean the case would be solved immediately. The home minister has handed over the case to the ATS, which is capable of solving it. Let us have faith,” he said.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Ashish Shelar targeted the Shiv Sena-led government as he questioned the presence of an “encounter specialist” assistant police inspector at the time of Mansukh’s post-mortem.
“The encounter specialist’s presence at the post- mortem of Mansukh is suspicious as he is neither part of Thane police nor the ATS, which is probing the case. It gives an impression that there is something that this government wants to hide,” he said.
Shelar also criticised the home minister over his “U- turn” on the case probe.
“Home minister Deshmukh was praising Thane and Mumbai police and their achievements, but within half-an-hour, he announced that the probe into the case would be handed over to the ATS. So what happened in just half-an-hour that prompted him to give the investigation to the ATS?” he asked.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Sandeep Deshpande demanded that a sitting judge should be appointed to carry out the investigation.
Meanwhile, a police official from Thane said that Mansukh had left his shop around 8.30 pm on Thursday in an autorickshaw and since then his phone was switched off.
“His family members had lodged a missing person’s report on Friday morning after he did not return home and a case was registered at Naupada police station. By that time, a body was found at Mumbra and it was later confirmed that the deceased was Mansukh,” he added.
His mobile phone is yet to be recovered, he said.
His post-mortem was conducted at a civic-run hospital in Thane’s Kalwa on Saturday, he said.
“The exact cause of his death will be known once the medical report comes,” the official said, adding that security at Mansukh’s residence in Naupada has been stepped up. PTI MR ND DC NP
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