Antilia case-Hiran murder: Court rejects former cop's discharge plea; says his involvement prima facie 'clearly seen'

10:50 AM Nov 11, 2022 | PTI |

Aspecial NIA court here has rejected the discharge plea of former police officer Sunil Mane in the Antilia bomb scare case and the subsequent murder of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiran, saying that prima-facie his involvement is clearly seen in the case. Special court judge A M Patil rejected Mane’s discharge application on Thursday. The detailed order was made available on Friday.


Mane was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in April 2021 for his alleged role in the case. However, in his discharge plea filed before the court, the accused claimed that he was nowhere connected to the theft of Mansukh Hiran’s vehicle on February 25, 2021 or placing of explosives near businessman Mukesh Ambani’s residence.

He further contended that former police officers Sachin Waze, prime accused in the case, and Pradeep Sharma, had hatched a conspiracy to kill Hiran with other accused and till this stage, this applicant (Mane) was not in the picture.

As per the charge-sheet, it is clear that the applicant has not committed any offence under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and therefore, he is entitled for discharge of the offence under the provisions of anti-terror act and for default bail in the offence of Indian Penal Code (IPC), Mane’s plea said.

On the other hand, the NIA submitted that Waze had induced Hiran to place an explosive-laden SUV on Carmichael Road (near Ambani’s residence) and tried to convince him to accept the responsibility for placing the same. When Hiran refused to accept, Waze hatched a conspiracy to kill him through accused Pradeep Sharma and Mane with the help of hired killers, the probe agency claimed.


It further contended that this applicant entered into a ”well-organised conspiracy” headed by Waze for the murder of Hiran, which was a direct outcome of terrorist act committed by Waze and others.

The court, upon perusal of statements of witnesses, said, ”It is clear that prima-facie involvement of this applicant is seen in this case.” It is also seen that prosecution has material to prove conspiracy between the accused and its culmination in the murder of Hiran by Waze, along with the co-accused including the applicant, the court held.

Apart from the statements of witnesses, the prosecution has incriminating evidence, such as call detail records of mobile phone used by the accused (Mane), the court added.

It is also seen from the charge-sheet that Hiran was killed by the accused because of the crime dated February 25, 2021. It is the basic story of prosecution that the act of parking the explosives-laden vehicle of Hiran and thereafter his murder was a well-planned act involving high-end criminal conspiracy, which was executed by the accused with an intent to strike terror, the court said.

The judge said that it is seen from the prosecution story that the said act of the accused is ”nothing but a terrorist act”. Lastly, the court ruled that the act of Mane cannot be segregated at this juncture.

”Without leading evidence, it cannot be concluded that applicant number 5 (Mane) had no knowledge about the act of other accused in respect of the incident dated 25, 2021,” the court noted.

The NIA, probing the case, has arrested 10 people, including Waze, Sharma and Mane, in connection with the February 25, 2021 incident when an explosives laden vehicle was found parked near ‘Antilia’, Ambani’s residence. Hiran was found dead a few days later in neighbouring Thane.


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