On the evening of March 4, when Mansukh Hiran, the 48-year-old businessman who ran a car interiors business in Thane, left his shop for Ghodbunder Road, a busy highway in the north of the city, he had called his wife Vimal. He told her that ‘Tawde’, a police officer from Kandivali, had called him to meet there in connection with the Antilia car case. He also told her his police officer friend would be there. Hiran then went missing. His dead body was found the next day at the Thane creek at Reti Bunder in Mumbra, around 10 km from his house.
Investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which took over the murder case on March 24, has revealed that the police officer friend Hiran had mentioned was none another than Sachin Vaze, the suspended assistant police inspector. The agency suspects Vaze was present when Hiran was killed and later thrown in the creek sometime in the intervening night of March 4 and 5.
Vaze and Hiran had known each other for a long time. Hiran, at Vaze’s behest, had left his Scorpio abandoned near Vikhroli on the Eastern Express Highway on February 17 and filed a stolen car complaint the next day. The same vehicle was found laden with 20 sticks of gelatin and parked around 500 metres away from ‘Antilia’, Mukesh Ambani’s home on Carmichael road in south Mumbai, on February 25.