IM involvement in Mansukh killing needs probing: Intelligence Wing
By Venkatesh Raghavan
Latest intelligence inputs on the Mansukh Hirani murder case corroborate the Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s observation that it seemed fishy that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) wanted to take charge of the investigation that was handed over to the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). Thackeray emphasised in his conversation with the media that governments serve their five-year tenure and pass on whereas the state administration remains unchanged and merits the trust of its citizens and legislators as well.
Also read: Explosives, Murder, Antilia And The Terror Angle
Political views apart, there is a strong story emanating from the Indian intelligence wing that attributes the murder to terror operatives being remote controlled by Pakistan. Referring to the recent arrest of API Sachin Vaze in connection with the death of Mansukh Hiren, the Intelligence wing was of the firm view that it was done on the grounds of suspicion. Earlier, the same intelligence wing had attributed Mansukh’s killing to Indian Mujahideen field operatives. The Intelligence input further elaborated that IM’s name cropped up in connection with Mansukh’s death as the terror outfit had claimed responsibility on earlier occasions it had issued death threats.
Interestingly, even as these inputs poured in, a Delhi court sentenced the parent agent of IM, reportedly Ariz Khan who was involved in killing a police officer in the Batla House Encounter, to death on its verdict delivered on Monday.
At present, the investigation is being carried out by National Investigation Agency (NIA), a nodal agency that has taken over the case files from the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the city police. In granting custody to NIA, the court had observed that the charges slapped on Vaze were of a serious nature and included 120 B, which implies conspiracy against the state. The intelligence agency further stressed that the arrest will require the NIA to furnish concrete evidence it has on hand to the court.
“The First Information Report (FIR) fails to establish any prima facie case. Besides, the investigation has not been conducted on the settled principle of law,” informed the intelligence gathering unit. The Intelligence wing further said, “IM operatives based in Mumbra had eliminated Mansukh Hirani, an auto dealer by tossing his body in the nearby creek. These IM operatives are a student wing from the banned SIMI and they take instructions from Pakistan.”
The intelligence wing also elaborated that their information was on the basis of calls intercepted between Karachi and Mumbai. They however, were unable to detect the address of the IM operative. The saga dates back to February 17, 2021, the day Mansukh left his SUV Scorpio parked on the Mulund – Airoli path. He informed the police that there was a problem with its steering that caused it to be parked there. It was earlier disclosed that Vaze had returned the SUV that he had procured from Mansukh in November 2020 after citing problems with its steering.
On February 25, it was reported that the Scorpio was parked outside business tycoon Mukesh Ambani’s residence, Antilia, and was found carrying explosives. From there on the investigation trail picked up with Crime Branch officers including Vaze repeatedly asking Mansukh to report to their office for questioning. Finally, after his death was reported on March 4, there was a strong cry for action against Vaze from the opposition benches. Chief Minister Uddhav sounded his final note stating, “The ATS will continue to probe the case.”