MUMBAI: The viscera of Mansukh Hiren, who was in possession of the vehicle that was later found with explosives outside the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, has been sent to the forensic lab for analysis, police said on Saturday.
The autopsy report of Hiren (46), who was found dead in a creek in neighbouring Thane on Friday morning, reserved the opinion on the cause of death, officials said.
Hiren’s body was fished out of the creek along the Mumbra-Reti Bunder road hours after his family registered a complaint about his disapperance with Thane police.
The autopsy report received on Saturday mentioned that there were no visible external injuries, a police official said.
“The viscera has been preserved and sent for chemical analysis to the forensic sciences laboratory at Kalina in Mumbai,” he said, adding that drowning was suspected to be the cause of death.
After obtaining the autopsy report, senior police officials visited Hiren’s residence in Naupada in Thane and convinced his family members to take possession of the body, said Deputy Commissioner of Police Avinash Ambure.
The family had said earlier it would not take the body for last rites until autopsy report was available.
A team of the Maharashtra‘s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) which has taken over the probe of the entire matter, visited the spot where Hiren’s body was found.
As per Thane Police, Hiren, who was in vehicle spare business, left his shop around 8.30 pm on Thursday in an autorickshaw and since then his phone was switched off. His family then lodged missing person complaint.
Hiren’s Scorpio with 20 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.
Hiren had said in the statement recorded by police that when he was on the way from his shop in Thane to Crawford Market in south Mumbai for some work on February 17, the steering got jammed.
He left the car on service road in Vikhroli and took a cab, he said. After finishing work, he met a friend and returned to Thane in his car, he told police.
The next day he found that the Scorpio was missing and lodged a police complaint, Hiren had told the media.
Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, BJP leader and Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis pointed out that Mumbai police commissioner’s office is close to Crawford Market.
“He met a person at Crawford Market. Who is that person? The vehicle owner lives in Thane and the police official who was the first to reach the spot (near Ambani’s house) also lives in Thane,” Fadnavis said, seeking an NIA probe.
While the police had maintained that Hiren owned the SUV, the matter got murkier on Friday when Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said in the assembly that he was not the owner.
The real owner had handed it over to Hiren for some interior work, Deshmukh said, while announcing that the probe will be transferred to the ATS.
On Saturday, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil alleged that the suspicious death of Hiren looked like a murder, and questioned the “seriousness of the probe”.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the matter should not be politicised, but the truth must be found to protect the Sena-NCP-Congress government’s image and prestige.
As to who parked the vehicle near RIL chairman Ambani’s house in the early hours of February 25, the investigators have not said anything yet.
Police said that CCTV footage showed that the person who drove it there left in another vehicle, an Innova, which is yet to be traced.