Hiren’s autopsy report accessed by TOI on Saturday revealed “minor abrasions on his face on the left side, the upper part of the nostril, the right cheek up to the chin and the right eye”. The report stated that his ribs, cartilages, lungs and pericardium were intact, but reserved the cause of death.
On February 25, an SUV laden with explosives was found parked near Antilia on Carmichael Road. Police had also found a threat letter addressed to the Ambani family. Hiren had claimed that he was the owner of the SUV and that it had been stolen from Mulund-Airoli Road, where he had parked it on February 17 after it had developed a snag.
Sources said a letter sent by Hiren to the CM and other authorities mentions in detail the visits he had made to police and the questions he was being asked by various investigating agencies. In the letter, he purportedly stated, “Interrogation from the various agencies have (sic) disturbed my peace of mind and in spite of being a victim I am treated as an accused.” The letter further read, “I am being harassed, without having any knowledge about the culprits, who not only committed theft of my said vehicle but also misused and abandoned the same as mentioned herein above. I have already given my explanation and statements that how my said vehicle was stolen and I am victimised, but still unnecessarily suffering harassment at the instance of policemen and news reporters as mentioned hereinabove.”
On Saturday, the cause of his death was reserved in the post-mortem report. The viscera will be sent for chemical analysis to the state forensic lab. Hiren’s family initially refused to accept his body and relented only after senior police officers intervened.
A senior police officer said the post-mortem report revealed Hiren might have died 12-24 hours before the autopsy was conducted at 7.45pm on Friday.
Sandeep Khambe, a family friend of Hiren’s, demanded a free and fair probe into his death.
Sam Newton, who is the owner of the SUV according to the state home minister, resides in Kopri. “During the lockdown Newton regularly helped cops and even arranged refreshments,” said Avinash Jadhav, MNS Thane district chief. Jadhav said he had tried to contact him but he did not take calls.
Mumbai Police, meanwhile, claimed on Saturday that assistant inspector Sachin Waze was not the first to reach the spot where the explosives-laden vehicle was found. Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis had alleged on Friday that Waze reached there before the local cops. Fadnavis also said Waze was in touch with Hiren. But Waze denied it and said he may have spoken to Hiren but does not remember.
The anti-terror squad, which has now taken over the probe in the Antilia case, has recorded the statement of the Ola cab driver who had dropped Hiren to CST on February 17 after his SUV developed a snag. He reportedly said Hiren had booked the car to go to Crawford Market but changed the location to CST later.
Police also said there was no police officer by the name of “Tawde” who had called Hiren to Ghodbunder on Friday night. Hiren had received a call from an automobile trader at 8.32 pm. Police questioned the trader and ruled out foul play.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said it was important for the image and prestige of the state government to uncover the truth. “It is wrong to politicise Hiren’s death and put the government in the dock. There are doubts about whether Hiren’s death was a suicide or murder. He was an important witness in the case,” Raut said.
BJP’s Ashish Shelar targeted the state government and questioned the presence of an “encounter specialist” at the time of Hiren’s post-mortem in Thane. “He (the encounter cop) is neither part of Thane police nor the ATS which is probing the case. It gives an impression there is something this government wants to hide,” Shelar said. The home minister had been praising Thane and Mumbai police and their achievements on Friday but within half an hour, he announced that the probe would be handed over to ATS, Shelar added.
(With inputs from agencies)
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